For many small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) cyber security has become an increasingly important consideration. With a higher number of smaller businesses being targeted by cyber criminals each year, protecting your company data, and your reputation, with effective cyber security systems has never been more essential. Phishing scams, ransomware and malware are popular tools used by cyber criminals to attack your network. But what do SMBs need to know about malware? And how can you keep your business safe? Well, here at Creative Network Solutions, we are Manchester’s leading IT support and network services experts. From secure remote access services to business VoIP, we are the team you can count on. And this is our guide to everything small businesses should know about malware.
What is malware?
Malware is the name for any malicious software that is designed for criminal purposes. This is also known as a computer virus. Ransomware itself is a specific type of malware, but there are others including:
- Backdoor Trojans- this is malware that gains access to a system, when you install something else. Usually this is associated with software that seems to be harmless, like games and office documentation, yet malicious code has been “tagged on” which can sneak through and infect your computer system. This can also leave open a backdoor for hackers.
- Worms- usually installed onto your computer as a result of a phishing scam, worms can be deadly for your whole network. Once a worm has installed itself into your computer’s memory, it starts to spread and infect the whole machine potentially the rest of the network, where it can modify, steal and damage data, as well as leave open a back door for hackers. Connected mobile devices can also be effected.
- Spyware- Spyware is a common piece of malware that, like a backdoor Trojan, is usually hidden as part of a useful or desirable piece of software. Instead of infecting your computer, or causing performance issue, this piece of malware runs unnoticed, while it steals usernames and passwords, as well as financial information. This often leads to identity theft and credit card fraud.
How does malware enter the network?
Malware can enter your computer network in a variety of ways, including:
- Clicking links in phishing scams- the is the most common way for SMBs to be effected by malware and this is why email security and staff training should be a top priority.
- Malicious websites- malware can also infect a network if one of your staff members is tricked by a malicious website. This is often designed to look exactly like the real website, but once your details are entered, or a product has started to download, your computer, and your entire company network can become infected. Staff training is a great way to try and prevent this at your workplace.
- Infected external drives- if you allow your staff to use USB drives, instead of, or as well as, the cloud, you could be putting your company at risk. USB drives that are used on multiple computers, at work and outside of the office environment can become infected with malware, which will then infect company computers when plugged in.
Anti-virus software can often catch these types of malware attacks, before they can do any damage. But its essential that your company installs professional anti-virus software, and keeps this up to date.
For more information or advice, why not ask the experts today, here at Creative Network Solutions.