Malware & Its Impacts on Businesses
Malware in today’s world is a part of life. As technology progresses and devices are constantly related and evolving, so too are techniques and methods used to exploit this technology. With manipulation and malware rampant, the possibility of your organization suffering an attack and paying the price is expected to increase.
Cyber-attacks and the harm they cause can be very costly to organizations. The costs of cyber-attacks really aren't limited to the immediate containment and eradication of threats. Operational costs, loss of revenue from downtime, emergency remediation, and recovery solutions will escalate costs, not to mention the presence of intangible costs such as reputational loss.
What is Malware?
Malware is a catch-all term for any type of malicious software designed to harm or hack any programmable computer, service, or network. Cybercriminals usually use it to extract data that they can manipulate over victims for financial gain. Such data can range from financial data to healthcare records, to personal emails and passwords—the possibilities about what sort of information can be compromised have become infinite.
What are the types of Malware?
Unfortunately, there is a lot of malware out there, but knowing the various forms of malware is one way to help secure your data and devices:
A type of malware that often makes the news and is on the rise, ransomware is a type of software that holds parts (or all) of your computer files hostage and demands a fee to release them. Typically, the data is encrypted so well that there is no other way to retrieve the data other than paying. They propagate in a similar way to viruses.
Phishing is a scam wherein websites or emails disguised as a legitimate source, say even as your bank. They use fake links that manipulate you into entering sensitive personal or financial details such as your bank account, which can then be manipulated. Often these appear inside emails with dubious information or links.
Worms have the ability to copy themselves from machine to machine, usually by exploiting some form of a security flaw in software or an operating system and don’t involve user intervention to function.
These are typically inserted into files that the user installs online. Often the application you have downloaded has a legitimate use and will work normally but during the download additional malicious files were hidden away and become active once on your computer. Trojans can be used in a variety of ways, deleting data, creating back-doors around security processes, or sending spam emails.
A computer virus infects sections or more of your computer when the file it is attached to is opened. They spread through email or by downloading attachments online. They differ in what they do; some do very little, maybe simply changing your desktop wallpaper while others can make your operating system completely useless.
How does Malware affect your business?
1. Operations are Interrupted
Cybersecurity facilitates the proper running of digital operations of a business. But a malware attack can directly or indirectly disrupt it. The levels of disruption can differ in size.
It can range from a virus corrupting a critical Operating System on one system, to destroying entire networks of systems. One of the best examples of such is Stuxnet, a malicious computer worm, capable of taking down entire networks.
It has broader consequences, often in the form of DDoS attacks. For example, a DDoS attack will totally shut down your website in less than a minute. And no website is exempt from it. For example, the 2016 Dyn cyber-attack crippled PayPal and Twitter.
2. Keystroke Mapping and Account Control
This is a malware attack by Trojan, that is very easy but can have deadly consequences. It targets you when you type in confidential information into your machine, including the specifics of your bank account.
By shadowing you, it tracks the keystrokes you made and goes on to steal your credentials. It can then access and take out money from your account without any permission.
This is used to great effect by Zeus malware, a type of Trojan that does outstanding keystroke mapping.
3. Data Exfiltration
Malware typically takes control of the device without user permission. And after gaining over, it can filter out important business data, client data, and even personal data, without any knowledge of the user.
It is basically a form of data theft, which can be very costly. According to a report, the global average cost of the data breach has risen by 6.4 percent from 2017 to $3.86 million. Apart from business disruption, this can tarnish the reputation of the brand and hamper consumer goodwill.
4. Monetary Extortion
If the malware makes its way through your cybersecurity, one of the reasons might be the extortion of money. To this end, Ransomware is especially relevant. It effectively freezes your access to your date until you pay up a certain requested sum.
And these types of attacks are evolving. Reveton, one such ransomware, accused their targets of child pornography and other criminal acts and kept them to ransom until they paid up.
5. Deleting Whole Directories
Malware will go above and beyond the cybersecurity policies to remove very sensitive and critical business data.
New malware deletes entire files, although they say that the files have been transferred to another location for additional protection.
For a token payment, they promise that your account will be opened to you. In fact, the files have been deleted or corrupted irreversibly, so that recovery is well-nigh impossible.
One of the latest examples of such malicious malware is Nukeware. It asks you to pay the ransom, and there is no way to retrieve your files.
Events like this can greatly impact cybersecurity initiatives and weaken them.
How Teceze can help?
There are some best practices that you can do to avoid infection. Teceze includes a variety of enterprise-grade anti-malware and firewall security solutions that can help minimize risk and keep your data secure. Even SME’s who do not have the advantage of an internal IT department can rely on Teceze to provide cybersecurity protection and support. Reach us for an audit on your IT Security at +44 0208 050 5014 or email us at email@example.com
Malware in today’s world is a part of life. As technology progresses and devices are constantly related and evolving, so too are techniques and methods used to exploit this technology.