How to defend your network against common malware types

How to defend your network against common malware types

The world of malware is constantly transforming. Those who wish to cause grief for computer users are always discovering new ways to annoy and even cause actual financial harm through their cyber attacks.

These cyber attacks are also getting sneakier and more sophisticated. On top of that, hundreds of millions of computer viruses and malicious software are created every year. It’s no wonder everyone from at-home users to major corporations often struggle to identify and defend their equipment and information from malware.

To help you understand what you must be on the lookout for, we have compiled a list of common malware types and how to best defend your network, devices and the valuable information they contain.

1. Computer viruses

When you typically envision malware, you are most likely thinking of a traditional computer virus. However, most malware does not come in the form of a virus. In fact, true computer viruses only represent 10 percent of today’s malware.

Still, it’s important to protect equipment from viruses. Because viruses modify files within legitimate programs, forcing the virus to be executed when a legitimate file or function is executed, they can be especially difficult to remove. In most cases, files infected by a virus are either quarantined or removed completely.

Viruses are very easily spread from one device to another - and another. So, it is best to have a strong antivirus monitoring software to stop the spread as soon as an infection begins.

2. Bug

Bugs infect software and cause some sort of flaw or other undesired outcome. They are not usually created intentionally, but can create an access point for cyber criminals, allowing them to reach data and information they should be blocked from.

The only way to prevent bugs from being exploited is for developers to eliminate errors when they are creating programs and for more careful analysis of finished code.

3. Worms

Worms are one of the oldest forms of malware. They are most often found in emails. An email message infected with a worm can spread throughout an entire business after just one person opens it. Unlike viruses, worms can work on their own, making them especially potentially damaging.

Threats like worms emphasize the need for antivirus software and removal plans that can be deployed very quickly.

4. Trojan horse

Trojan horse programs are one of the most common malware forms today. They pretend to be a legitimate program but their true malicious intent occurs in the background before infected users realize they may have an issue.

Users can encounter trojan horse programs through infected emails or websites. Be especially aware of any fake antivirus program that claim your equipment is infected and must be cleaned. If it’s not the antivirus software you use, then ignore the message.

5. Ransomware

Ransomware does what its name suggests. Once it gains access to a device or network, it will lock out users from accessing specific data or systems until a ransom is paid to the hacker. Paying the ransom may not always result in data or systems being released either.

Downloaded files can often be a source for ransomware. They take a specific kind of expertise to remove without paying a ransom, too.

6. Rootkit

Rootkits are malware that remotely access a computer without users or security programs being aware. Once a rootkit has been installed on a computer, cyber criminals can get their hands on just about anything - and do just about anything.

Rootkits are discovered by investigating odd computer behavior and activity. They must also be removed manually. To avoid a rootkit attack, keep hardware, software and applications updated at all times to close security gaps. In addition, never download suspect files or programs.

7. Spyware

Spyware is a form of malware that spies on users, collecting information on their computer activity and keystrokes. They can also steal important information and data, adjust security settings to decrease the chance of being detected and cause network connection issues.

Spyware often infects a computer by being included in legitimate software or trojan horses. Fortunately, because not all spyware is truly malicious, it is often easy to remove from an infected device. However, spyware’s presence may suggest a severe vulnerability that a more dangerous type of malware could exploit.

The best defense against malware

The best defense for your network against malware is a strong antivirus monitoring and removal program and firewall software. Always select software that can detect, quarantine and remove malware.

You should also keep devices and software updated. Many updates contain security fixes.

Finally, only use programs, software and files (including email attachments) from sources you know and trust. When in doubt, never click on or interact with suspicious or unfamiliar messages or files.

Cyberattacks spread quickly, so be prepared

Cyberattacks are known to spread at a very fast rate. According to an article on CNN Business, hackers who send large quantities of email messages can often trick somebody into falling for their scheme within 82 seconds. Once the hacker has the information they want or has access to that first victim’s network, they will often turn around and target a similar company in the same way within 24 hours.

To prevent your business from becoming a victim to a malware attack, you need to have an antivirus monitoring software that can quickly detect and eliminate threats. This is where you can turn to Advanced Network Professionals to provide your business with the necessary solutions.

Be proactive in fighting malware

One of ANP’s many managed IT services is our remote monitoring and managed antivirus. This solution is constantly updating to remain knowledgeable of the latest malware and other security threats to your business.

With managed antivirus, businesses can be proactive in protecting themselves rather than reactive. If a threat is ever detected our technicians are notified immediately. The threat is then remotely quarantined or repaired, allowing you to go about your day operating your business knowing it is safe and secure.

If you would like better protection against today’s malware threats, get in touch with ANP and request a quote.

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