Malware has been around for many years, however, like viruses that spread to and infect our physical bodies, malware also is always changing and new types are constantly emerging.
This is why it is critical for business owners and anyone in charge of overseeing network infrastructure and security needs to be aware of how malware spreads through networks into personal devices, including computers. What’s more, they need to know how to act in order to mitigate damage and remove malware before any sensitive or private data is accessed and compromised.
A serious malware attack can bring a business of any size to its knees. Even attacks that may at first seem to be more of an annoyance can point out critical security issues within a company’s network.
One of the greatest challenges of defending against malware attacks is that there are so many different types of malware. According to DataProt, there are about 350,000 new malware pieces detected every day. It is estimated that there are 980 million malware programs that network’s and their security protocols must be able to defend against.
Malware attacks relentlessly, too. There were more than 7 billion malware attacks reported in 2019. DataProt estimates that four companies fall victim to ransomware alone every four minutes.
If successful in infecting a network, malware can spread quickly to devices such as computers and other hardware. Malware can expose and leak sensitive information just as quickly.
How malware goes about infecting a network depends on how it is delivered. Here are some of the common forms of how malware might try to gain access to a network.
Emails that target a business
Targeted emails are a common way malware and malicious software are spread to a business’s network. These emails are often sent unsolicited to employees, managers and other targeted individuals. They may look official, but often links or attachments in the emails are carrying the malware.
Once opened, the malware has gained access and could pose a network security threat.
To defend against these threats, businesses should have strong spam filters in place for email and tight antivirus protocols in place to identify threats immediately.
Fake software update sites
Another common source of malware are websites that falsely claim a system’s software of some type is outdated and needs to be updated. Users are directed to the sites via pop-up ads, new browser windows or new browser tabs.
They are then exposed to false advertisements for updates to popular programs. Clicking on links often delivers the malware to the computer, and then potentially to the network.
Outdated security systems and software
Because there are so many new forms of malware discovered every day, it should come as no surprise that one of the most common ways they gain access to computers and networks is by taking advantage of security vulnerabilities found in outdated software and hardware.
Unfortunately, it is easy to fall behind in keeping both software and hardware adequately updated. But its importance cannot be understated.
Once malware is in your network, it does not take long for it to seek out and reach vulnerabilities, including both data and other devices, such as computers. It used to be that most malware, especially ransomware, focused on many attacks on individual devices in order to bring down larger networks.
However, that strategy has now changed. Now, certain forms of malware can locate and then encrypt network shares, which allows the malware to do a lot of damage in very little time. No longer are they only attacking local drives on the device that has been infected. Now, these forms of malware, often sophisticated ransomware, are seeking out shared network drives that the device has access to.
This puts nearly every device that also shares that network drive at serious risk. With just one infected device acting as a host for the malware in a system that utilizes volume sharing and then spreading throughout the network, unless discovered by an antivirus program that’s up to the challenge of warding off these sophisticated threats.
But it’s not just devices and the files stored within them that are at risk. With many companies opting to save and store files on shared network drives, malware has begun looking at those points for files to either infect or take ransom. Even companies that utilize certain cloud backup services must be aware that some strains of malware pose a security risk to their files, too.
Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of a malware attack. These forms of viruses can very quickly infiltrate unsecured systems and access sensitive data. For businesses, this could be proprietary information, private customer or client data and more.
No matter the size of your business, the best defense against malware is a closely managed network security plan that includes managed firewall and managed antivirus.
With a managed firewall, early threat detection can enact security protocols immediately in order to fend off malware attacks and keep your business’s data safe and secure.
A managed antivirus system will constantly be on the lookout for any form of malware that could pose a threat to your network and business data. Should a threat infect your system, the managed antivirus system can create an alert and the managed IT services provider can immediately quarantine any infected parts of your network and work quickly to remove the threat.
If security is your priority, then Advanced Network Professionals is the managed IT services provider to work with.
Our experienced technicians are constantly keeping our clients’ security measures updated and secure, while also monitoring their networks for any potential malware threats. We prioritize ensuring solid protection of all your data, while also being ready to shut down any infections where they originate.
Contact ANP today to learn more about how we can protect your company’s valuable data.