Understanding the Different Types of Malware
As technology and systems become more and more sophisticated, so do the ways and means of targeting those systems. As data breaches and viruses can be detrimental to a business, it is so important to put the correct defences up to ensure you have the ultimate security. As the saying goes prevention is easier than the cure, but it is important to understand exactly what you are protecting your systems and data from in order to really understand how important ample security is. If a malware attack succeeds, it can lead to lost revenue, unexpected downtime, data theft, and other costly consequences. Malware comes in various forms, and attackers are constantly developing more sophisticated and challenging-to-detect versions. It’s crucial to take proactive measures to safeguard your organisation against these potential dangers.
What is Malware?
Malicious software, commonly known as malware, is a tool used by threat actors to cause chaos for individuals and organisations. Malware often hides in fraudulent links, email attachments, ads, or on various internet sites, waiting for an unsuspecting victim to activate it. The ultimate objective of malware is to exploit computers and networks, often leading to the theft of data or money.
It takes just one employee’s wrong click for malware to infiltrate and start its program. Unfortunately, malware attacks are on the rise, particularly in the aftermath of the pandemic. The annual count of such attacks has surged to an alarming 10.4 million. Ransomware and supply chain attacks are on the rise, and cybercriminals have grown more sophisticated, forming ransomware gangs and malware-as-a-service operations.
It’s crucial to note that many malware attacks are initiated through phishing or social engineering. While there are tools available to prevent such attacks, educating users is paramount because they are the primary targets of social engineering. Therefore, training employees on cybersecurity measures is essential to combat malware attacks.
Viruses are malicious programs that infect other software and can spread to other devices. When a file containing a virus is executed, the virus activates and can perform various harmful actions, such as encrypting, corrupting, deleting, or moving data and files.
To safeguard against viruses, it’s recommended to use an enterprise-level antivirus solution that can protect all your devices from a centralized location, while providing central control and visibility. It’s important to run full scans frequently and keep your antivirus definitions updated to ensure the best possible protection.
Malware comes in different shapes and sizes
Malware, short for malicious software, is any program designed to harm computer systems, steal data, or cause damage. In recent years, malware attacks have become more prevalent, and organisations of all sizes need to take steps to protect themselves from various forms of malware.
Phishing emails are a common form of malware, in which an attacker sends an email posing as a trustworthy source to trick the recipient into clicking on a malicious link or downloading a file. To prevent phishing attacks, users should be trained to recognise suspicious emails, and email filters should be used to block incoming malicious messages.
Remote control malware allows an attacker to take control of a victim’s computer remotely, giving them access to sensitive information. To prevent this type of attack, it is essential to use strong passwords and to avoid clicking on any suspicious links.
Email attachments are a common route for malware. Attackers can embed malicious code in seemingly harmless files, such as PDFs or Word documents. To prevent attacks through email attachments, it is crucial to use antivirus software that can scan attachments before they are opened.
Trojan horse malware disguises itself as legitimate software, tricking users into downloading and installing it. To prevent Trojan horse attacks, it is important to only download software from reputable sources and to use antivirus software that can detect and remove Trojan horses.
Fileless malware is a type of malware that resides in memory, making it difficult to detect using traditional antivirus software. To prevent fileless malware attacks, it is crucial to use endpoint detection and response (EDR) tools that can monitor for suspicious activity.
Malicious advertising involves placing ads on legitimate websites that contain malicious code, which can infect users’ computers with malware. To prevent malicious advertising attacks, it is important to use ad-blocking software and to keep antivirus software up-to-date.
Malicious websites are websites that have been compromised to spread malware. To prevent attacks through malicious websites, it is important to use up-to-date antivirus software and to avoid visiting suspicious websites.
To mitigate the risk of malware attacks, it is essential to use antivirus software, keep software up-to-date, use strong passwords, and train users to recognise and avoid suspicious activity. By taking a proactive approach to security, organisations can protect themselves from the devastating effects of malware.
How best to protect yourself from Malware attacks
Malware poses a constant threat to your organisation and systems, regardless of its form. It can compromise your most valuable assets and data. To mitigate this risk, it’s essential to take a proactive approach and invest in your security environment.
Luckily there are steps you can take to minimise your risk which Valto can help with.
- Endpoint Protection: Valto provides endpoint protection that includes advanced threat detection, prevention, and response capabilities. This helps protect your endpoints from malware attacks, including viruses, trojans, worms, and ransomware.
- Firewall Management: Valto helps you manage your firewalls by providing real-time visibility and control. This helps prevent unauthorised access to your network and ensures that only authorised traffic is allowed in and out.
- Security Information and Event Management: Our solutions provide real-time monitoring, correlation, and analysis of security events. This helps identify and respond to threats quickly, reducing the impact of a malware attack.
- Security Awareness Training: We offer security awareness training to help educate your employees on how to identify and avoid malware attacks. This helps reduce the risk of social engineering attacks, such as phishing and spear-phishing, which are often used to distribute malware.
- Incident Response: Our incident response team can help you quickly respond to a malware attack, minimising its impact on your business. This includes containing the attack, identifying the source, and removing the malware from your systems.
Microsoft 365 Security
Microsoft 365 offers a range of security options to help protect your organisation’s data, devices, and users. Here are some of the key security features:
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
MFA is a security feature that requires users to verify their identity by providing two or more forms of authentication. This can include a password and a code sent to their mobile phone. MFA can help prevent unauthorised access to your organisation’s data.
Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
DLP is a feature that helps prevent sensitive information from being shared or leaked. You can create policies that detect and prevent the sharing of confidential information, such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, and other sensitive data.
Advanced Threat Protection (ATP)
ATP is a set of advanced security features that help protect against malware, viruses, phishing attacks, and other cyber threats. It includes features like Safe Links, which scans links in emails to determine if they are safe to open, and Safe Attachments, which checks email attachments for malicious content.
Conditional Access is a feature that allows you to control access to your organisation’s resources based on certain conditions. For example, you can require that users connect from a trusted network or device before they can access certain data.
Mobile Device Management (MDM)
MDM is a feature that allows you to manage and secure mobile devices used by your organisation’s employees. You can enforce security policies on mobile devices, such as requiring a passcode, and remotely wipe a device if it is lost or stolen.
Identity and Access Management
Microsoft 365 offers various identity and access management features that help protect against unauthorised access to your organisation’s data. This includes features like Azure Active Directory, which allows you to manage user identities and access to resources.
Microsoft 365 provides a robust set of security options to help protect your organisation’s data, devices, and users. By leveraging these features, you can help ensure that your business is protected against cyber threats and data breaches. If you would like more information on any of these services or would like to speak to one of our Microsoft experts about security, contact us and we will be happy to help.