As useful as the internet is, it is also the best way for criminals to attack your business, with the idea to disrupt operations or for their financial gain. Information security is everyone’s business: employees, managers and business owners.
It is necessary to take precautions to secure individual devices, network and all other IT infrastructure against threats. The need to actively protect your technology is due to the continually evolving threats, which, if they take hold, can have nasty effects on productivity, reputation and the bottom line.
What is Malware?
Malware is any software or code which is written for nefarious purposes (malicious software). In the old days, it was ‘just’ viruses, which would destroy and corrupt anything they could access. These days, the range of malware is far wider and can include things like:
- key loggers, which record passwords and send them back to the cybercriminal
- ransomware which locks you out of your files until you pay a ransom
- phishing attacks (and spear phishing, which is more targeted) which seek to compromise information
- backdoors which allow attackers into your networks
- rootkits which hand over control of computers to attackers
Many more exist, including old fashioned viruses.
Where does Malware come from?
The nature of the internet allows malware to come from just about anywhere. A lot of it is automated, too. Hackers set up machines and networks (and take over other people’s computers) and put them to work. These machines work around the clock, automatically targeting whatever weak points they can find on the internet. The threat is always on, always there. IT user support exists in an attempt to deter hackers from locating and accessing weak areas in your technology.
The average computer user will see attempts at breaches coming in via email: those too-good-to-be-true ‘You’ve won the Microsoft lottery’ messages are a dead giveaway.
Hackers are smart and make a lot of money through their activities, so all sorts of clever attempts to fool you can be expected, disguised as invoices, purchase orders, bills, payments to your account, complaints, anything.
A simple ‘I love you’ fooled much of the world back in 2000. That’s an example of social engineering – taking advantage of people’s curiosity, good nature or gullibility.
With the use of IT support technicians, much of the malware protection is taken care of for users, making it easier to manage security updates and understand what tech threats exist.
This short video outlines the three things that will help you spot malware on your IT system:
An IT security policy has to be set from the top of the business, but IT security has to be everyone’s business. The IT support administrator takes care of things like the firewall, perimeter security and ensuring that every device is compliant with policy and has the necessary security software installed, because every user is a potential point of compromise.
Prevention is always better than cure. The best advice we can give you is to be alert, know what to look out for, don’t open files from strange sources (Microsoft isn’t really in the business of operating lotteries or giving away money). Think before you click.
Being excessively cautious is probably one of the better ways to avoid a compromise, which can be one of the biggest challenges in information security today. Educating users, driving awareness and building up a sense of what a potential threat looks like is crucial to securing your company’s systems
Chatting with your IT support technicians is important too. Malware threats evolve constantly, so having an idea of what is going on, and information sharing amongst co-workers can be a valuable weapon against attackers.
Lastly, if you suspect a breach, act on it immediately to have it remediated. The more time an attacker has, the greater the damage they will cause.
If you’re unsure about your the security of your company, take a look at this “Choose the Right IT Support Company” guide to help you know what to look for.