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January 8, 2021

How Malware can Impact your Business

 

Malware attacks on businesses are becoming more frequent. In 2017, cyber-attacks cost businesses an average of over two million dollars. You need to be aware of malicious code that can attack your business computer systems because it not only harms you and your company, but it also can harm your employees and clients.

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Attacks on your business network can come in a variety of forms. Any type of software that can negatively affect a computer can be considered a type of malware. The term is an abbreviation for “malicious software.” These harmful pieces of software are designed to invade, damage or disable computer systems and any type of devices such as laptops, phones and tablets.

The purpose of malicious code is usually to try and make money in some way. They can go after your data by damaging or encrypting it so it’s unusable, or they can cripple the core functioning of a computer system so that it’s inaccessible or unusable. Malicious code can also spy on your activities to learn about your spending habits or find out private information that can be used to blackmail you or gain access to your financial accounts.

Common types of attacks on businesses

One common and costly attack aimed at businesses is ransomware, which is usually delivered via a Trojan horse. This is a program that tricks you into downloading and/or installing a piece of software that appears harmless. Once the program is installed on your system, the ransomware encrypts the files on the infected computer and pops up a message that demands a Bitcoin payment to recover the files.

Another common attack is the Distributed Denial of Service attack, abbreviated DDoS. This attack is designed to overwhelm and render a network system inoperable so it’s no longer able to serve clients, employees and other users. The main goal for the attacker is usually not to gain anything financially, but to cause harm to a business out of spite, revenge or amusement.

Businesses are also commonly targeted by “phishing” schemes, which are attacks that masquerades as an institute or website where you’re prompted for private information such as credit card numbers, passwords and social security numbers. The goal of this type of scheme is usually to gain access to your system to try and steal your money or spy on your business proceedings.

In order to hack into your systems, criminals sometimes use a variety of password attacks that utilize hacking software. This is usually accomplished with a brute force method that tries millions of combinations until the correct password is inputted and opens the targeted page or application interface. If you use strong passwords and change them frequently, these types of attacks are usually unsuccessful.

Attackers usually are after a quick, easy payday from a ransomware attack or grabbing money from an account. There are more serious attacks that can cause a lot of damage to a business network and operations that cause a disruption of service to customers. These scenarios can cost a lot of money.

What can you do?

In order to safeguard your business, use best practices with keeping antivirus programs up to date. It’s also important to keep all software and operating systems patched with the latest security updates. Make sure that all employees use strong passwords and change them frequently, and everyone should be aware of common phishing schemes and avoid falling into the most common traps.

 

Craig Bowen

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