Malware is malicious software designed to cause harm to the end user. Malware seeks to invade and damage computer systems, networks, mobile devices etc. by taking control over a device.
Malware is all about making/stealing money off you, illegally. It's important to remember that whilst Malware can't cause damage to the hardware of your systems, it can do many things to your data including:
From knowing just that, why would you not protect your business against those things? Think about it. Malware attacks don't only affect just you as the business, but it's also affecting your customers.
How are your customers going to take it when they get a phone call from you saying some hacker has stolen all their banking information from your system?
And, how will that affect your business?
In summary, that's the gist of malware, but there are many different types of malware that can harm your business. We've chosen 3 that your business is most likely at risk too.
A virus is the most common form of Malware. And much like a medical virus such as the flu, it replicates itself to spread. So, imagine somebody with the flu coughs in their hands, shakes your hand and then you eat an apple. You have just gained the flu virus. This is essentially the exact same as how a computer virus works.
Computer viruses attach themselves to things in your computer such as music, movies, games, applications... essentially any file they can get their hands on. Now, if someone were to download music off a sketchy website, they could very possibly be bringing a virus into their system and that virus is going to then attach itself to other files and spread.
If someone were to give you any of those files and you put them into your computer system, you will gain the virus. Much like how you would gain the flu when you ate that apple before.
A worm is very similar to a virus. They just have different methods of operation, where viruses attach themselves to one another, a worm is an independent program.
Worm's operate in the background, meaning they don't need a user to access them to take charge. A worm will be able to affect a whole network, rather than just one computer system. It can communicate with other devices on the network through the computer it has already affected. This is essentially how it spreads.
It's important to remember that these "worms" don't always have to come from a malicious looking source. They can be sent to you via businesses. (business owners listen up because this is where it's bad for you) If a worm gets into your system, it can send malicious emails out to your customers and infect them. In fact, this is one of the most common types of infected emails.
The hacker that has distributed the worm into your system will also gain access to your email list and use that to set up and send bulk malicious emails. YIKES. You wouldn't want to be the owner of that business, would you?
Ransomware has had an increase in media attention over the last decade and for good reason. Ransomware is a type of virus that encrypts the files of your computer, it doesn't damage or steal any information. However, all your files are locked and can't be accessed without a "password" of sorts.
Generally, there will be a demand for money to take the ransomware off your computer. Hackers will also send emails demanding money or they will lock all your files. In most cases, they won't and it's just a scare tactic they use to scam people. Often, these attacks never actually occur, but this hasn't stopped people from giving them money as a precaution.
When it comes to Malware, you should be very cautious about what is out there on the internet. Especially when operating in a business, you are not only handling your own privacy but your customer's privacy as well. Malware comes in many other forms from what we have briefly discussed above. So, it also wouldn't hurt to talk to an expert and find out what you can do to ensure your businesses safety online.