types of malware and how to defend against it

Different Kinds of Malware Need Different Kinds of Defenses

One of the reasons information security is so difficult is that there are so many different threats you need to defend against. Malware can take many different routes to get into your systems, and once there, it can do many different things. Keeping your data safe requires protecting against all of those different potential paths and actions.

Malware Can Take Different Routes Into Your Systems

As computers get more and more connected and more of our work and personal lives move online, there are more and more ways for malware to penetrate your defenses. The potential vectors include:

  • viruses. A virus attaches itself to legitimate files so it executes along with the underlying file.
  • worms. Small and self-replicating, worms spread without any user action.
  • trojan. Like the Trojan horse, this malware dresses up as legitimate software to hide its dangerous instructions.
  • malvertising. Online ads aren’t just annoying; they can include malware. In some cases the malware can execute automatically.

Malware Can Do Different Things

Once malware gets into your systems, it allows the hackers to use your systems and steal your data. Malware has the capability to:

  • steal data. Malware can steal data in different ways. One type of malware does this by keystroke logging; by capturing users’ data entry, hackers can learn passwords, account numbers, and other sensitive information. Other types of sophisticated malware can target specific files.
  • hold data hostage. Sometimes hackers don’t want your data, but they know you need your data. Ransomware encrypts your data files so you can’t read them and requires you to pay a ransom (usually in bitcoin or other cryptocurrency) to regain access. This malware can completely shut down your operations until you pay or restore data from clean backups.
  • redirect your browser. Some malware, called adware, displays unwanted advertising. This malware can sometimes take over browsers and redirect them to pages with ads rather than the requested site.
  • turn your PC into a bot or cryptominer. Malware can take over your PC and force it to perform other operations, including participating in a DDoS attack, emailing spam, or cryptomining. This malware doesn’t harm your device or data directly, but can result in poor performance.

Protecting against all these types of malware requires a comprehensive information security strategy. Tools such as firewalls and antivirus software can help keep dangerous software out of your systems. Training users is key to recognizing phishing emails and other malware that makes it through the automated systems. CCS Technology Group helps businesses develop and deploy complete cybersecurity solutions to protect vital company data. Contact us to learn more about the different threats your data faces and how you can defend against them.

Additional Cybersecurity Resources

7 Common Mistakes That Place Your Data in Danger

Phishing 101: What it is, how it works and how to avoid it

Spoofing: What it is and how to avoid it