There are over one billion malware programs known in existence.
Protecting your business from malware is essential in today’s digital landscape. Are you aware of the signs that your business may be affected by malware? In this blog, we will explore the most common types of malware attacks, provide you with 5 key signs to look out for, and talk about the benefits of working with a MSP to protect yourself.
Malware, short for malicious software, is software developed with the intent of infecting and harming data, devices, or people. Malware impacts systems in numerous ways, it:
- Grants access to unauthorized attackers
- Corrupts or deletes valuable data
- Impacts system performance
- Captures sensitive information
- Creates hidden access points and backdoors
- Manipulates security software
A malicious agent would infect a business’s computer with malware for numerous reasons. Whether they’re looking to use malware to create and exploit business vulnerabilities for financial gain, are information thieves, or are involved in espionage, there’s no shortage of reasons why a criminal may infect your business with malware.
Now that we better understand the basics of what malware is and why a cybercriminal may want to attack your business, let’s review the specific threat vectors:
- Email Attachments: Email attachments make up a huge portion of malware attacks, with some studies showing that up to half of all malware attacks originate from email.
- Malicious Links: Malicious links are another one of the most common threat vectors for malware. These include links delivered through emails, instant messages, web pages, and more.
- Physical Media: Malware can also be spread through removable, physical media like USBs or external media. While this is less common, it still poses a risk for organizations with poor physical security.
- Software Vulnerabilities: Many cybercriminals will exploit software vulnerabilities in your organization’s operating system, applications, or plug-ins to gain unauthorized access into your systems.
- Social Engineering Attacks: Social engineering is an increasingly common type of cyberthreat, and involves manipulating the target into downloading and executing malicious files or unintentionally granting unauthorized access.
Let’s review some key malware facts sourced from Comparitech to give you a better understanding of the state of malware in 2023.
5.5 billion malware attacks were reported in 2022.
560,000 new pieces of malware are detected every day.
Trojans account for 58% of all computer malware.
Now that we better understand malware, how it works, and some of the most important malware statistics you need to know in 2023, let’s go into detail about specific malware attacks. Keep in mind that the cyberenvironment is constantly evolving, so what’s pressing today may not be a major threat one year from now.
With that said, here are some of the most common types of malware attacks today and some basic information on each type:
Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts files on a victim’s system, rendering them inaccessible until a ransom is paid.
It often spreads through email attachments, malicious links, or exploiting software vulnerabilities.
Examples include WannaCry, NotPetya, and Ryuk.
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- Trojans are malware disguised as legitimate software that trick users into installing them.
- They can create backdoors, steal sensitive information, or provide remote control to attackers.
- Trojans often spread through email attachments, infected websites, or software downloads.
- Worms are self-replicating malware that spread across networks without user intervention.
- They exploit vulnerabilities in operating systems or applications to infect other systems.
- Worms can overload networks, degrade system performance, or carry out coordinated attacks.
- Spyware is designed to secretly gather information about a user’s activities without their knowledge.
- It can capture keystrokes, record browsing habits, monitor online transactions, or steal personal data.
- Spyware often spreads through malicious downloads, email attachments, or drive-by downloads.
- Botnets are networks of compromised computers under the control of a central command server.
- Infected computers, called bots, are used to carry out coordinated attacks, distribute spam, or mine cryptocurrencies.
- Botnets can be created by malware such as botnet Trojans or by exploiting vulnerabilities in systems.
- Adware displays unwanted advertisements on a user’s device, often in the form of pop-ups or browser redirects.
- It can slow down system performance, track user behavior, or collect personal information for targeted advertising.
- Adware is often bundled with free software downloads or distributed through deceptive advertising practices.
- Phishing attacks use social engineering techniques to trick users into revealing sensitive information.
- Attackers create fake websites, emails, or messages that appear legitimate to steal login credentials, financial details, or personal information.
- Phishing attacks often exploit human trust and rely on victims clicking on malicious links or downloading infected files.
- Keyloggers are malware designed to record keystrokes on a victim’s computer, capturing sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, or credit card details.
- They can be deployed through email attachments, infected websites, or software vulnerabilities.
- Keyloggers can be used for identity theft, financial fraud, or gaining unauthorized access to systems.
Concerned about your business being infected by malware? Unfortunately, your business may be infected right now without your knowledge. In fact, it takes business owners an average of 212 days to identify a breach according to Astra Security.
Speed up that timetable by checking for these 5 signs that your business may be affected by a type of malware attack:
- Slow or Unresponsive Systems: Increased system sluggishness, freezing, or unresponsiveness could indicate the presence of malware consuming system resources.
- Unexpected Pop-ups or Advertisements: Unwanted pop-ups, banners, or advertisements appearing on systems, even when not browsing the internet, may suggest the presence of adware or potentially unwanted programs (PUPs).
- Unauthorized System Access: Accounts being accessed without permission, files modified or deleted, or suspicious activities occurring on systems may indicate a malware infection.
- Unusual Network Traffic: Unexplained spikes in network activity or significant data transfers, especially during off-peak hours, could indicate malware infection, such as a botnet or data exfiltration.
- Disabled or Altered Security Software: Malware attempting to disable or modify antivirus software, firewalls, or other security measures is a significant sign of a malware infection.
If your business observes any of these signs, it is important to take immediate action, isolate affected systems, and seek assistance from IT professionals or cybersecurity experts to investigate and address the potential malware infection.
In today’s rapidly evolving cybersecurity landscape, it is crucial for businesses to prioritize effective malware prevention and protection measures. One of the best ways to achieve this is by partnering with a trusted managed service provider (MSP) that specializes in cybersecurity. An MSP can offer comprehensive solutions and expertise to help businesses stay ahead of emerging threats, safeguard their systems, and mitigate the risks associated with malware attacks.
With the support of a trusted MSP like us at 12 Points Technologies LLC, you can focus on your core operations, knowing that your IT infrastructure is in safe hands. We’re your solution for malware attacks and beyond—get in touch today with one of our professionals today.
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