Malware: An umbrella term describing any form of software created to steal information/data, damage devices, and wreak overall havoc; especially on small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). In fact, according to experts, 43% of data breaches are targeted towards SMBs (due to their limited resources) and of which 60% are forced to close their doors as a result.
Protect yourself and your business by learning about common SMB-targeted malware attacks and what you can do to prevent them.
See our previous post: 27 Must-Know Cyber Security Statistics for Small Businesses
Common Types of Malware
As we mentioned above, malware is a broad term as it covers many different types of attacks. The following threats are the most common to SMBs:
Ransomware – Ransomware is a form of malware that locks/encrypts a user’s data, device or system, denying the victim access to their own information until a ransom has been paid.
Viruses – Like a cold or flu for your computer, viruses infiltrate and infect “healthy” files, programs or documents. From here, they slowly attack other files, often leaving entire systems damaged.
Spyware – Just as its name implies, spyware is a form of malware created with the intent to “spy” on your online activities. After gaining access to your computer, cybercriminals use this form of attack to collect your information (passwords, card numbers, surfing habits, etc.) to use for personal gain and/or to relay (sell) to external sources.
Trojans – In short, a trojan is a form of malware disguised as a legitimate or reputable type of software or document. Once a user unknowingly installs a trojan on their computer, cybercriminals often have license to attack your system or device with additional malware types.
Adware – Otherwise known as advertising-supported software, adware is typically installed when the victim interacts with an adware-bundled application or website. From here, the user is bombarded with unwanted ads, pop-ups and re-directs.
Worms – Because worms rely on interfaces to spread, they can infect entire networks, locally or online. They are typically transmitted through vulnerable software and emails or attachments that redirect users to malicious sites.
Botnets – A network of computers working together to achieve a common goal through the coordination of one master computer. Once infected, cybercriminals can use the network to do their bidding.
Protecting Your SMB From Malware
Train Your Employees
Your employees are your frontline of defence. Thus, it’s essential to protect your business with cybersecurity policies, best practices and training. Best practices should include:
- Keeping software up to date
- Protecting company and personal data
- Using strong passwords and two-factor authentication
- Being wary of suspicious links, emails, downloads, attachments, etc.
- Enabling firewall protection, always
- Regularly backing up files
- Ensuring they’re always connected to a secure Wi-Fi network
Install Ad Blocker Software
Antivirus experts at AVG have reported infected pop-up ads, banners, and other forms of advertising are on the rise, and recommend protecting your business with a reliable Ad Blocker.
Enlist the Help of a Managed I.T. Services Provider
One of the easiest (and most cost-efficient) ways to ensure your business is protected from malware (and other cybercriminal activity) is to partner with a reputable Managed I.T. Services provider. Not only will they defend your business 24/7/365, but they will also work with you to come up with a custom-tailored, proactive IT strategy - guaranteed to keep you safe, successful, and always up and running.