What Is Malware and How to Prevent Malware

How to Prevent Malware

A malware attack can do serious damage to your company. It can send you malicious advertisements, lock your device and encrypt sensitive information, steal login credentials, spy on the computer, and many other things. It is crucial to know how to protect your business from malware attacks.

This article will explain what malware is, the types of malware, and the signs of infection. It also explains how to avoid malware attacks. Let’s get started.

What Is Malware?

Malware is shorthand for malicious software. This is the general term for all computer software programs that are designed to harm a computer or computer network.

Hackers launch malware attacks on:

  • Users can be tricked into giving out sensitive information such as login credentials and social security numbers.
  • In order to obtain ransom, encrypt or steal data from users’ computers in exchange for accessing it back.
  • To steal financial information and credit cards from victims, spy on their computers.
  • Access multiple computers to continue denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.

Even if the malware isn’t malicious, it can still remain on infected devices for several days or even months. The malware will take action when it is most dangerous.

Also read: Top 10 Anti-Phishing Tools and Software

Malicious Software in 2023

Businesses around the world have been affected by malware attacks. In 2021, there were approximately 5.4 million malware infections worldwide. In the first half of 2022, there were 2.8 billion malware attacks worldwide.

You can therefore expect malware attacks to continue targeting businesses in the future with the same intensity in 2023. As a business owner, you should be prepared to face this cybersecurity threat. Knowing about different types of malware can be a good start to learning how to prevent it.

Different Types of Malware

These are the most serious types of malware that you need to be aware of.

  1. Ransomware: Ransomware locks or encrypts the device and demands ransomware to gain access. LockBit is an example.
  2. Spyware: Spyware spies on victims’ computers to steal sensitive data. FinSpy is an example.
  3. Adware: Adware displays unwanted advertisements on infected devices. They earn revenue by serving unwanted ads on infected devices. Advertisers pay for clicks and views. Fireball
  4. Trojan Horse: Trojan Horse disguises itself to appear as legitimate software. It is a free copy of paid software. Trojan Horse can infect victims’ computers by releasing its malicious code. It can install viruses, keylogging, or steal data. Example: Ice IX
  5. Wiper: Wiper malware has one purpose: to delete data that is beyond repair. Example: Shamoon
  6. Keylogger: This keylogger records users’ keystrokes in order to steal login credentials or other sensitive information. Example: Ardamax Keylogger
  7. Bots: Bots is a self-replicating, spreadable malware that infects other computers. Once it is inside a network, it creates a botnet (network or bots). This botnet can be used by hackers to send phishing emails and other cyber attacks. Example: Gameover Zeus
  8. Rootkit: Rootkits are often used to infect operating systems and software. Rootkits give hackers admin privileges. Hackers can then use infected devices as they wish. Rootkits can lead to file deletion, remote access, information theft, remote access, file execution, file execution, and remote access. Rovnix is an example

Signs of a Malware Infection

These warning signs are of malware infection.

  • A malware infection can cause annoying ads to appear on your computer suddenly. Worse, pop-up advertisements are often loaded with malware programs.
  • You are denied access to your computer and any data on it. You will eventually receive a ransom notice stating that your computer has been infected with ransomware.
  • You will notice new extensions and toolbars in your web browser settings.
  • Increased Internet activity is evident on your computer.
  • You will notice a substantial decrease in disk space.
  • If your antivirus software stops working or you are unable to turn it on, your computer could be infected with malware.

A malware attack could also be responsible for frequent crashes of your computer without warning. Sometimes malware can remain inactive for several months before becoming active and causing serious damage to the computer.

For malware protection, it is important to use the most recent security software and security tools.

Also read: Top 10 Malware Removal Tools

How to Prevent Malware Attacks

How can you prevent malware infection? Here are seven proven methods to prevent malware infection:

1. Install an Anti-Malware Software

Anti-malware software is your first line of defense against all malware-related threats. It scans your computer, servers, and network in real-time and detects threats before they can cause damage to your IT infrastructure.

Make sure to choose the anti-malware program that provides the following features when choosing an anti-malware software for your company.

  • User-device level protection
  • Browser protection
  • Protection of the network
  • Server-level protection

You should also use a firewall for additional security to your network and devices.

2. Implement Secure Authentication Methods

Secure authentication methods can help protect your networks and systems from unauthorized access.

These are the best practices.

  • Enable multi-factor authentication
  • Use a password manager for password management
  • For authentication, you can use physical tools such as smart cards
  • For authentication, use biometric tools such as fingerprints and iris scans
  • Strategically, a secure authentication method can be used to prevent malware and other cyber threats.

3. Implement Email Security

Email can be used to spread malware or carry out phishing attacks. Email security can help protect your business against malware attacks and other programs that could damage your IT infrastructure.

You might consider setting up a secure email gateway that will filter out malicious attachments and enable email encryption to protect your email content.

4. Monitor Suspicious Activity

A malware infection can be prevented by using intrusion detection software (IDS). This system monitors inbound and outbound network traffic to detect abnormal activity.

Your cybersecurity team can investigate any alerts for abnormal activity that an IDS generates. If it’s a malware infection your team can take further steps in order to get rid of it.

You should also implement an intrusion prevention (IPS) system to prevent malicious requests from incoming traffic.

You can increase your network security by using both IDS AND IPS.

5. Follow the Principle of Least Privilege

The principle of least privilege security concept. This method allows you to provide your users with as little data and resources as possible in order to fulfill their duties.

A victim of malware attacks has limited access to files and other resources. To stop the further spread of malware into your network, you can eliminate it from its source.

You can increase the attack surface of your business by giving all employees administrative privileges. Malware can spread easily to other devices.

Also read: 17 Ways to Prevent Cyber Attacks

6. Software and Operating Systems Updates

Hackers can easily exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software and operating systems to gain access to your computer systems. They can infect your computer systems with malware once they have access.

It is crucial to keep operating systems up-to-date and maintain software. Do not delay installing any software or operating system update.

7. Training Your Employees

Hackers aren’t interested in small businesses. Hackers instead target individuals or small groups of employees to gain access to your IT infrastructure.

Training your employees in digital best practices is a great way to guard against malware and ransomware attacks.

Your business should have a cybersecurity program that helps users in these key areas.

  • Malicious email attachments and websites to be avoided
  • Avoid downloading files from malware sites
  • Learn about different social engineering techniques
  • It is important to create strong passwords.
  • How to safely use removable media
  • Helping users to recognize and report cyber threats

No matter what topic cybersecurity awareness training covers you need to tailor it to the needs of your employees.

Last Line

The best anti-malware software for your business is one that meets all your security requirements. First, understand your company’s security needs. Then search for the best anti-malware program to protect against malware attacks.

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