How to Prevent Malware Attacks? 7 Security Tips to Follow in 2022
The FBI’s Internet Crime reports that cybercrime had cost businesses in the U.S. more than $6.9 billion in 2021. Part of these losses come from malware attacks as it is the most common cause of cybercrimes. As we enter the second half of 2022, only 43% of businesses feel prepared for cyberattacks.
Malware attacks can steal crucial data from your systems, exploit your business operations, and make you lose clients while costing your business millions. Therefore, it is essential for businesses operating online and generating digital data to prevent malware attacks.
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iLink has listed 7 security tips to keep your business safe. But before diving into that, let’s understand malware, its types, and how they enter your systems.
What is Malware, What are types of Malware, and How do they get distributed?
Malware is brutal software designed to harm a computer or network. Cybercriminals typically use it –
- To steal, encrypt or delete sensitive data to leverage it for financial gains.
- Hijack or execute unauthorized actions on victims’ systems.
- Introduce spam to slow down or stop the system from functioning.
Though all malware steal or trades data, they are often divided based on how they are designed or spread. Some common types are viruses, ransomware, trojans, spyware, worms, adware, scareware, and fileless malware.
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Cybercriminals may use one or more combinations of malware to hack into your systems. They try to trick users into downloading malicious files such as email attachments, fake internet ads, or popups with links appearing legitimate. Once you click these links or buttons, it directs the users to a website that automatically downloads infected applications onto your device.
Why is it important to stop malware attacks?
According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, over 34 million new malware samples have already been discovered year-to-date. It means that, on average, hackers are creating more than 316 thousand malware threats daily in 2022. In 2021, 37% of all businesses and organizations were affected by ransomware. Of which, 32% paid the ransom but recovered only 65% of their data.
Let’s also take a look at the losses. While ransomware costs the world $20 billion, recovering from attacks costs businesses $1.85 million on average in 2021. It means one malicious software and your company can be on its knees. Fortunately, there are ways to safeguard your organization from these attacks. But let’s first understand how to recognize if your systems are infected.
How to recognize if your systems have Malware?
Here are some signs to look out for:
- Your device suddenly slows down, freezes or displays repeated error messages.
- Faces difficulty in shutting down and restraining your computer.
- Spams and inappropriate ads pop up everywhere on the screen.
- Redirection to unknown websites.
- Your systems tools are disabled or show unexpected tools.
- Creates new files and folders without asking your permission.
- Won’t let you delete or install the software.
Your system is under malware attack if it shows any of the above symptoms. Don’t worry; you can block them!
7 Security Tips to Prevent Malware Attacks
1. Install Antivirus or Anti-malware software
Antivirus software works by scanning incoming files and codes passed through your network traffic. It compares your files with the database already scanned for malware. Although antivirus programs automatically scan your computer for malicious files, you can also set it for manual scans. That way, you know in real-time which files are infected and neutralized.
2. Implement a Firewall
A firewall provides another layer of protection that gives your devices and network more robust security. There are two different types of firewalls – personal firewalls to protect your computer and external firewalls to protect your servers and networks. These firewalls act as a barrier between your internet and IT infrastructure to block any malware. You can also specify which traffic should be allowed and which should be restricted using a firewall system.
3. Employ secure authentication methods.
Authentication verifies the identity of a person or device before providing access control for systems. It checks if a user’s credentials match the credentials in the database of the authorized users and then allows to proceed. However, instead of just passwords, your organization needs to implement a more robust authentication method such as:
- Implement Multifactor Authentication such as PINs or security questions.
- Use phrases with at least eight characters, including an uppercase letter, a lowercase letter, a number, and a symbol, instead of simple passwords.
- Use biometric tools like fingerprints or facial recognition.
Another best practice is to never save passwords on a computer or network. Instead, take the help of the secure password manager. We know passwords are difficult to type and hard to remember, but it’s not the same for computers.
4. Grant Limited Access Controls
We know people you work with are trustworthy, but restricting access to sensitive data ensures your data isn’t vulnerable to hackers. Granting limiting privileges reduces the attack surface of the organization and the risk of attack. It’s considered a good practice to devise equal security measures to protect the organization from malware.
5. Avoid using administrative and application privileges.
Administrative privileges allow you to access the most sensitive parts of a computer or network system, increasing the chances of malware attacks. Therefore it’s better to use a separate account to browse the net, check emails or perform non-administrative duties. Use it only when you need to perform administrative tasks such as making configuration changes. It safeguards your computer and network better.
Additionally, avoid using administrative credentials to install software or using it on an open network. Make sure you validate that the software is legitimate and secure. Finally, log out of the admin account once done with administrative tasks.
6. Regularly update your software and systems.
Repeated alerts about software updates can be annoying, but clicking the ‘Remind Me Later’ button makes your systems more vulnerable to attacks. Cybercriminals take advantage of procrastinating these updates and use unpatched vulnerabilities as gateways to exploit your software.
As the best practice, it is crucial to validate and install all new software patches as soon as possible. Try automating software updates or implementing routine maintenance to ensure all software is current and free from vulnerability issues.
7. Educate your employees
Employees act as the first layer of protection against malware attacks. Educating them about real-world threats and how to respond to them helps reduce the chances of introducing malware into your network.
Here’s what your workforce should be aware of:
- Avoid engaging with suspicious emails from dodgy sources.
- Beware of the scam phone calls or messages saying their device has malware.
- Don’t click malicious links or popups on the screen.
Encourage employees to connect with the IT team in case of unusual behavior. Help them recognize credible sites and advise them to join secure networks only when working outside the office.
Protect your business with iLink’s intelligent and automated security solutions
We understand that regularly updating software and ensuring your systems are free from malware is challenging and time-consuming. You need dedicated professionals who can provide a highly tailored, automated, and effective solution so that you can focus more on offense rather than defense.
iLink offers an array of solutions that meet the glut of digital data demands for the modern era. Our solutions protect your business networks and data thoroughly from any harm and strengthen your organization’s IT infrastructure.
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