The Different Types Of Malware

Malware is defined as intrusive software that’s purpose is to damage and destroy computers and computer systems. Short for malicious software, it is one of the biggest threats in cybersecurity right now. Malware is dangerous because each cyber attack has a different purpose and the multiple types of malicious software being used by cybercriminals.

Malware can invade a business’s IT infrastructure through phishing attacks or malicious downloads and attachments. These methods work by a member of staff clicking a link that seems harmless or legitimate that then downloads malware onto their computer. When this occurs, it can infect an organisation’s entire computer network.

The sophistication of cyberattacks is advancing on a daily basis. Cybercriminals are constantly adapting their methods to sidestep new cybersecurity features and one of the biggest new threats is the use of social engineering. This tactic uses deception to manipulate staff into downloading malicious software onto a computer network. An example of social engineering is a fake email that looks as if it’s from an internal resource that actually has an attachment with malware.

Alongside the methods mentioned, there are many types of malware being used by cybercriminals. It’s crucial to understand the different types to focus so you can focus your IT security efforts in the right direction. This way your organisation avoids malicious software damaging your computer network, valuable data being compromised, and mission-critical systems failing.

The Main Types Of Malware

Ransomware

Ransomware is designed to block access to computer systems until a fee is paid to those responsible, usually in cryptocurrencies. Ransomware is essentially kidnapping an organisation’s ability to operate. One study found 40% of businesses experienced a ransomware attack over 12 months.

Worms

Worms are a form of cyberattack that is spread by taking advantage of infrastructure vulnerabilities. Phishing attacks are also a vessel used by cybercriminals to infiltrate IT systems with worms. Worms can be used as a launching point for DDoS attacks which can cause catastrophic system failures.

The purpose of worms is varied. Some cyberattacks utilising worms use the software to create a backdoor for further attacks. While other tactics involve stealing sensitive data or modifying files to disrupt business operations. 

Trojan Horses

Trojan horses disguises themselves as friendly software to unsuspecting users. When a link is clicked, attachment downloaded, or software downloaded, a trojan allows the software to take control of a company’s network. This can be used by hackers to spy on company operations, access systems, and steal sensitive data.

Spyware

Spyware secretly collects information on the affected users’ activities. Its purpose is to learn passwords, usernames, and payment information. Spyware can also potentially view in-house communications that have valuable business insight. Spyware aims to infect a network and operate unnoticed to harvest as much information as possible.

Viruses 

Viruses are different from worms as viruses require a computer network that’s already infected to operate. Viruses normally infect systems via a word document or .exe file extension, disguising themselves as a trustworthy file to download. Once downloaded they tend to remain dormant and undetected until activated. From here, the virus can duplicate to spread throughout the entire network. They differ from trojan horses as viruses need the app it has infected to be running to work.

How To Protect Your Business From Malware

  • Implement multi-factor encryption
  • Educate staff & customers on emerging threats
  • Make email marketing a part of your business culture
  • Keep applications, software, & systems up to date
  • Establish firewalls & internet gateways
  • Action IT security management

Cybersecurity is a powerful tool in a company’s IT infrastructure. Without the right protections, your organisation’s computer network is vulnerable to malware which could lead to stolen payment information, catastrophic system failures, and disastrous data losses.

By putting strong cybersecurity protections into action you can avoid these issues. To implement the right cybersecurity strategy, it’s important to consult with experienced IT engineers; experts who understand the latest malware threats and how to safeguard your organisation against them.

Every company wants to know how to protect themselves from cyberattacks. Bluecube’s expert and experienced team can implement a clear IT security strategy that supports businesses against cybercriminals.

Discover the secret to protecting your company’s computer systems with Bluecube.

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