Malware is an abbreviation for malicious software. Malicious software can find its way onto networks via email attachments, vulnerable devices, and insider threats. It can be hidden in ads or embedded in fraudulent links.
When malware is in place, it can wreak havoc and cause a loss of data, money, and destroy a hard-earned reputation. According to a Verizon report, 17 percent of data breach cases involve malware. All it takes is one wrong click, and malware starts installing itself and executing its program.
Adware is relatively harmless and is software that displays or downloads ads, typically in the form of pop-ups or banners. It is often only noticed when it becomes irritating, causing ads to continually pop up all the time while working. It can also hamper the performance of the computer.
Adware collects cookies and web browser history to allow for targeting of users with specific ads. Adware is mainly used for advertising purposes, and not all of it is necessarily malicious, but it can lead users to inadvertently download more malicious types of malware.
Defending against adware involves keeping operating systems, web browsers, and email clients updated. This can block adware before it downloads and installs.
You must know how to prevent malware attacks and enhance cybersecurity to optimum levels. An advanced email security software helps to prevent even advanced malware attacks.
This type of malware does not affect files but uses non-file objects, such as Microsoft Office Macros and other system tools. It is difficult for antivirus software to protect against fileless malware because it does not rely on files and has no footprint.
Fileless malware can evade all but the most sophisticated security systems. It is often undetected by traditional antivirus and other security solutions. To help defend against file-less malware, it is important to make sure users only have the rights and privileges they need for their jobs.
A virus attaches to a file and executes when it is launched. It can delete, corrupt, encrypt or move files and data. A virus can also spread to other programs and systems. The Zeus virus that was detected in 2006 is often still used today to steal financial data.
Maintaining central control and visibility is important to protect all devices from viruses. Organizations need an enterprise-wide antivirus solution that runs full scans frequently. It is also important to keep antivirus definitions up to date.
A worm is a malware that inserts itself into devices through security vulnerabilities or malicious files. It then looks for networked devices it can attack. A worm can remain undetected for some time as it may look like a legitimate work file. It can spread to other devices or systems, but it can’t infect other programs.
Updating with the latest patches is necessary to protect against worms. Email filtering and firewalls can also help to detect suspicious links or files that may contain a worm.
A trojan program pretends to be legitimate, but it is really malicious. It must be executed by the victim, unlike a virus or worm. It usually gets into a network through an email or as a link to a malicious website.
A trojan gives a hacker full access to the system of the machine, which can make it very dangerous. Cybercriminals can view logins, passwords and even hijack webcams.
Trojans use social engineering to get users to download them so they can be difficult to combat. The easiest way to avoid them is not to download or install software from an unknown source. Employees should be trained to only download software from reputable, authorized sources.
A bot is a software program that performs an automated task. A computer with an infected bot can spread it to other devices and form a botnet. A network of bot-compromised machines can launch and control massive attacks. A distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) in 2018 left most of Eastern Europe with no internet access.
Research shows that botnets flourished during the COVID-19 pandemic. Infected consumer devices used by employees for work or on the networks of employees working on company-owned devices working from home enabled malware to spread to corporate systems.
Spyware enables cybercriminals to monitor the computer behavior of users. It is malware that downloads on users’ computers without their knowledge or permission. It infects them through email attachments, malicious links, apps or websites.
Pegasus, mobile spyware that targets Android and iOS devices, was discovered in 2016. In 2021 Apple filed a lawsuit against the vendor for targeting Apple customers and products.
Ransomware is considered one of the most dangerous types of malware. It uses encryption to block a device’s operating system or files. Hackers demand a ransom payment, usually in bitcoin, to restore files.
Double extortion is when hackers not only use encryption but exfiltrate data to another location so they can use it to further extort victims with the threat of exposing sensitive data. People are more conscious today of staying anonymous online because they are aware that attacks like this can expose their personal data. Personal information and bank account details can be compromised on ecommerce sites by a ransomware attack.
The use of Ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) has increased the level of attacks and means that even technology-inept criminals can use ransomware. A percentage of each ransom is paid to the ransomware developer.
Data backups used to be enough to defend against ransomware. Victims could restore their files, so they didn’t have to pay the ransom. However, extortionware took ransomware to a new level, and organizations must use other measures to protect sensitive information. They need to use advanced protection technologies with anti-ransomware features.
To sum up
Malware can pose a considerable threat and cause disruptions, loss of data, reputation damage, financial loss and more. The best defense against common types of malware is strong cybersecurity hygiene. Regular security awareness training teaches employees about different types of malware and to use caution when downloading files or clicking links. Deploying email security gateways and using email best practices are also essential to protect against malware attacks.