Malware attacks 101: Check the basics with the best cybersecurity practices!

Talk of top cybersecurity threats, and most experts would have malware on the top of their lists. In recent years, big and small businesses alike have fallen prey to hackers and suffered malware attacks, which can have severe consequences, beyond financial losses. There are varied kinds of malware, such as ransomware & trojan horse, and in this post, we are discussing all that businesses must know about malware.

What exactly is malware?

Malware is the short for malicious software. The primary purpose of a malware attack is to hack systems, devices and steal data. Contrary to popular belief, malware attacks are often aimed at small businesses, primarily because these businesses have as many digital assets but they don’t necessarily invest in cybersecurity as much. Malware can be designed to steal data, for corporate espionage, to infect systems or ask for a ransom. Categories of malware include ransomware, worms, trojan, spyware, botnets and adware.

How to prevent malware attacks?

Basic cybersecurity measures can go a long way for preventing malware attacks –

  1. First, educate your employees on phishing and malware attacks. They should be able to identify suspicious emails, links, attachments and popups. If that means hiring a team of independent cybersecurity experts, consider that.
  2. The next step is to update all programs, software, and firmware to the latest version. Make sure that everything, from accounting software, to IP cameras, are updated, so that all vulnerabilities are patched for.
  3. Backup data. In case of a cyberattack, data backups can be used for restoring everything before further investigation is done. Backups should be taken frequently and must be scheduled.
  4. Consider network segmentation and use firewalls. Firewalls are actually useful in protecting networked devices from unsecured network, such as the Internet. Also, you need network segmentation, so that impact or hacking attempt on one subnetwork doesn’t impact all resources.
  5. Use antimalware software. Cybersecurity experts recommend businesses to use antimalware software, and these products are designed to take security to the next level, even when your employees are not as mindful.

Finally, encourage your employees to use a reliable password manager and ask them to use long, complex and strong passwords. Ensure that your networks are protected and encrypted, and if your employees are using company resources or accessing data on their own devices, ask them to use a VPN and avoid all public Wi-Fi networks. Taking a few precautionary steps is the best way to avoid malware attacks.