Multiple cybersecurity reports indicate that businesses are vulnerable to at least ten different types of malware. Malicious software, referred to simply as malware, is a class of computer programs used to compromise computer functions, bypass access controls, steal data, or cause some form of harm to the host computer.
Understanding how the various types of malware work can go a long way in ensuring you have the right cybersecurity strategy in place.
Here are three of the most common malware types to keep an eye out for.
This is the best-known form of malicious software, and the term used initially refer to malware. It is a form of malware that is able to replicate itself for spreading to other host computers through data transfer devices and networks.
Viruses often spread easily over a network or group of computers because they attach themselves to other commonly used, legitimate computer programs. Once a user launches an infected program or file, the virus executes code and infects other computer files.
A virus can attach to music, video or other files that it goes with whenever the data is copied onto a flash disk, USB stick, memory card or any other secondary storage device. It will also go with the infected file when it’s transferred over the internet.
To protect your business from viruses that can be used to harm host networks and computers, steal data and/or money, or render unsolicited ads; be sure to install and run a suitable anti-malware and firewall software that offers tools for detecting, quarantining, and removing multiple forms of malware. Also, you may want to sharpen your IT skills and that of your employees so you can understand when it is safe to download a free utility or copy files from any source.
Sometimes, a bad actor will install a program on your computer to steal data and secretly report on your activities. This form of malicious software is termed as spyware. It functions to spy on your activity without your knowledge.
Spyware can gather any range of information for the perpetrator including browser type, login information, account or financial data, the IP address and many more. It tracks your activities including logging the web pages that you visit, for purposes of directing another form of malware called adware.
Spyware often has other capabilities as well, including infecting your business electronic point of sales devices and can modify security settings of browsers or software and more. It is recommended that you keep Operating Systems and software up to date with the latest security patches to protect your business from spyware.
This is the type of malware that an attacker uses to encrypt all the files on your computer, preventing you and your staff from being able to access it without a specific cipher key and demanding a ransom to regain access to the computer(s).
Global damage costs associated with ransomware attacks are projected to hit $11.5 billion annually by 2019. You don’t want to be part of this statistic, so be sure to follow good cybersecurity practices to be able to identify problems before they can hurt your business.
Most forms of malware attacks can be devastating. These three are however leading the pack because of either their severity or ubiquity. In any case, following the recommended cybersecurity measures should help keep your business safe.