Tips for Spotting Malware Targeting Your Business
Unfortunately, malware is not an uncommon term. It’s pretty well known to anyone that uses a computer. There are several types of malware, as well as mediums in which you may receive it. So, before you or any of your team clicks on that link for the free whatever you think you’ve won, think about all of the personal data you could be giving away–or worse!
First, let’s take a quick look at the types of malware you or your staff may encounter.
These act a lot like the flu virus. Once it gets into a computer, it grows and thrives by copying itself and becoming part of another program. Then just like the flu at a school, it spreads from computer to computer. However, a virus can only be activated by opening or running the file. Viruses also include worms and Trojan horses; nasty little critters that trick you into letting them on to your devices.
This form of malware works just as its name intends. It’s a software that usually piggybacks on legitimate downloads. Once it is on your computer, it spies on the information you enter and sends it to a website. The first indication of spyware usually is a slow computer since it takes up many resources to run.
We all know this one all too well. Those pesky pop-ups are telling you your computer is infected or that you won money. These also piggyback on other applications or downloads, such as free computer wallpaper, widgets, or toolbars. Adware is tricky; inherently, it isn’t dangerous to your computer–ceaselessly annoying, but not dangerous. However, once clicked on, you’ve opened the proverbial floodgates.
With the popularity of cryptocurrency, ransomware has grown to become a much more significant threat. Often this type of malware won’t damage your computer - not right away, that is. Instead, it locks and holds it hostage. The hacker asks for a ransom and will provide a key only if paid. If not, the hacker will usually wipe your device of all of its data. And as you know, your company’s data is invaluable.
If all those aren’t enough, now there’s another malware beginning to gain popularity due to the cryptocurrency gold rush. Botware ultimately turns your computer into a zombie by flooding it with denial-of-service attacks. It helps hide anything going on below the surface. A surprising symptom of botware is a higher electric bill. You’ll notice your computer’s CPU will run continuously, and the fan will run longer than usual.
Now that you are a bit more familiar with just how malicious malware can be and how much they can corrupt your devices, it’s time to dive into a lesser-known malware scam. Malvertising.
Malvertising has been making more and more headway on Google, so much so, they created an individual landing page asking consumers to report malvertising and explaining how to combat it. The way this works is that cyber-criminals utilize several types of display advertisements to distribute malware. You and your team may see malvertising through auto-redirecting ads that take you to a phishing page with clickbait and damaging code hidden within an ad.
Sadly, cybercriminals usually use legitimate ad networks because of the high volume of ads they distribute. It makes it incredibly easy for them to place code into an ad without the advertiser having the slightest clue. The worst malvertising connects users' computers to an exploit kit that runs analysis on the defending computer, looking for vulnerabilities and exploiting them. From there, attackers can install malware, ransomware, or gain full access to the computer and sensitive information to you or your business. Sometimes Google may even flag your website for hosting malware, which will affect how your company shows up in search results–and NOT in a good way.
Like most other malware situations, the best way to keep it from ruining your device, or worse yet, your business is to keep everything up to date. This includes programs like Java, Flash, and Microsoft Silverlight. Ad networks are working hard to stay above the curve, but it is your responsibility to help with that.
Be sure to report any suspicious ads to Google. Remove the ad from your website and report it to your ad network. If you are unsure, there are many ad verification websites that can check ads for suspicious code. The bottom line with any mischievous and malicious malware is to keep your eyes open and report concerns as soon as you suspect them.
When it comes to security, you and your business may not be as safe as you hope. Our highly experienced Managed IT Services team at Hargray knows that today’s threats are all too real and happen all too often. Our technical experts will provide a Security Operations Center that offers 100% protection to streamline and support all your technology needs from backup and recovery to security so you can focus on building your business success.