Malware is a contraction of malicious software. This describes any piece of software that was designed with the intent of causing damage or stealing data. Some of the commonly known malware are viruses, Trojans, spyware and ransomware. These are created by crackers (sometimes mis-represented as hackers) who may be looking to make money, protest or test security.

What Is Malware And What Does It Do?

Malware is a term that covers a variety of different types of software, and each is different. Here are some of the most prevalent:

  • Viruses – These attach themselves to files and cause damage, then spread to other files. They can corrupt and delete files.
  • Trojans They disguise themselves as legitimate software (or are hidden in legitimate software) and can create pathways in your security to allow other malware in.
  • Spyware This watches what you do online, and can take your passwords, credit card details and bank account numbers.
  • Ransomware This can lock down your computer and threatens to erase everything unless you pay a ransom.

These can be disastrous for businesses, in some cases causing companies to shut down entirely.

How Can You Tell If Your Systems Are Infected?

Some types of malware (such as ransomware) will make their presence known immediately. Others (such as spyware) will hide from you for as long as possible – which means that they could have been on your system for a long time before you detect them. The best way to detect malware is to have an efficient cyber security plan in place.

How To Protect Your Business…

In order to protect your business from malware, there are several things that you can do:

  • Ensure that you and your staff are trained to recognise malicious emails, and ensure that caution is exercised when opening attachments.
  • Have a list of approved providers for downloads (or introduce an approval system for downloads).
  • Take care when clicking on adverts and websites with poor security.
  • Hire professional support to ensure digital protection.

Increases In Cyber Attacks…

With advances in artificial intelligence, malware is now capable of creating more malware – which means that your protections need to be of the highest quality to guard your business. Exposing your business to malware can be extremely costly (in terms of lost revenue, cost to fix and loss of customer trust), so ensuring that you have a secure defence in place is imperative.