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Cybersecurity Attacks That Can Hurt Your Business and Customers – Malware

The worldwide web has grown a lot since its infancy and now has billions of daily users. With the growth and popularity of the internet, we became a custom to many new and exciting phrases such as “links”,” web address”, “HTML”, and also more negative ones like “hacking” and “cybercrime”.

Cybercrime is the largest menace to every organization in the world. Why? – because every online interaction is an opportunity for hackers to exploit and disrupt lives.

We all know that pollution was the adverse effect of the industrial revolution – the same is with cybercrime and the internet, as the worldwide web grows in users, the more common cyber attacks are.

What is are cyber-attacks?

A cyber attack basically is the exploitation of vulnerabilities found in systems and software solutions. Over 90% of large organizations and 75% of small to medium-sized businesses suffer from various forms of cybercrime. 1 out of 5 organizations had their sensitive corporate data stolen last year – causing over 2 trillion USD in losses. A recent study shows that over 90% of websites all around the world lack adequate security solutions to stop simple data breaches.

Cyber attacks take place on a daily basis, even as we speak, some organization is getting its sensitive data stolen or their website hacked. Hopefully, this blog will help you identify various security threats while browsing online. Let’s have a look at the most common types of cybersecurity risks:

Malware

Malware is a term that refers to any type of malicious software designed to harm or exploit any programmable device or network. Cybercriminals usually use malware to extract data that they can leverage over victims for financial gain. That data can range from financial information to healthcare records, personal emails, and passwords. The possibilities of what sort of information can be compromised has become endless.

Malware is used by cybercriminals for many reasons such as:

  • Tricking the victims into providing personal data for identity theft
  • Assuming control of multiple computers to launch DDOS (distributed denial of service) attacks against other networks
  • Stealing consumer credit/debit card information or other financial data
  • Infecting computers and using them to mine various cryptocurrencies

How does Malware spread?

Malware has found several methods to spread, that includes email attachments, malicious advertisements on websites, fake software installations, infected USB drives, infected apps, phishing emails, and even text messages.

There is a lot of malware out there that comes in different shapes and sizes. Understanding which type does what can help protect your data and devices.

Viruses

computer vitusA virus usually comes disguised as an attachment in an email. The email containing the virus can be sent out by the attackers to multiple email addresses in one go. Once the victim downloads and opens the attachment, the device gets infected.

 

 

Ransomware

ransomwareThis is one of the most common types of malware out there – why? Because it’s the most profitable. This malware installs itself onto a victim’s device and encrypts their files and then turns around and demands a ransom to return that data to the user. Usually, the ransom has to be paid in Bitcoin and sent to an untraceable address.

Scareware

scareware-malwareCybercriminals scare users into thinking that their devices have become infected to convince victims to purchase fake applications. You can see typical scareware ads on websites, their main characteristics are the following:

 

  • An alarming message that says “Warning: Your computer is infected!” or “You have a virus!”
  • After clicking on the message it prompts you to download a program that promises to disinfect your device
  • Once installed it runs a fake scan while it scrapes personal data off the device

Sometimes, the scareware can contain ransomware that in turn, encrypts important files on your drive and will ask you to send money to the given bitcoin address.

Worms

Worms are malware that have the ability to copy themselves from machine to machine, usually by exploiting some sort of security weakness in the software or operating system, and don’t require and user interaction to function.

Spyware

Spyware-malwareWe’ve all heard about spyware, but what is it? It’s a program installed on your computer, usually, without you knowing about it, that captures and transmits personal information or browsing habits and details to its creator. Spyware enables potential attackers to monitor all forms of communications on the targeted device. Spyware can turn on your laptop’s webcam, use its microphone to record whatever is happening in the room. It’s even used by law enforcement, government agencies, and information security agencies to test and monitor communications in a sensitive environment or in an investigation. You can buy off the shelf spyware that you can use to spy on your children, spouse, or even employees. We won’t be including a link to that.

Adware

Adware programs push unwanted advertisements at users and typically display blinking advertisements and pop-up windows when you are using the device. Adware programs are often installed in exchange for another service, such as the right to use another software for free.

What can you do to keep your company safe from malware attacks?

Even though there are lots of types of malware out there, luckily for us, there are just as many ways to protect ourselves from malicious attacks.

It is essential to keep operating systems and applications updated. Cybercriminals usually look for vulnerabilities in old and outdated software, so make sure that you update every operating system in use by the company.

Another essential step is installing an adequate security solution – such as an antivirus. This can protect you from most types of malware, it can help to detect existing issues and remove them from the devices. These antivirus programs run regular scans of your devices ensuring that they are not infected.

The best way to keep your devices malware-free is to be careful when browsing online, avoid clicking on unknown links, popups, and advertisements. Avoid downloading unknown attachments whether it comes via email, a social networking site, or direct message. Also, be aware of emails requesting personal information, avoid risky websites, such as those that are offering free services.

When using mobile devices, stick to official app stores.  Don’t download any apps from obscure third-party sites, as they might be able to bypass built-in security measures and essentially place your device’s data into the hands of a stranger.

These tips and reliable security software can make a difference when it comes to your company’s security and the protection of sensitive data.

 

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