An in-depth look at the different types of malware and how they can impact your organization

Cybersecurity threats have a significant effect on your organization and malware is one of the cyber threats that risk your business. Although all of them are considered malware, each malware has different and unique tactics to invade technological devices. The more tactics and invasion methods have been changed, fighting against malware getting more and more challenging for organizations. 

We can say that cybercriminals are always one step further than cyber solutions so it is impossible to avoid whole cyberthreats %100. However, it is possible to diminish risks and data breaches with the help of modern solutions. Even if these solutions can not prevent malware damage %100, they can control the effect and prevent disastrous damage. 

An in-depth look at the different types of malware and how they can impact your organization 1

What is malware?

First of all, we should explain what is malware and how to protect against it. Malware is malicious software that aims to harm individuals or organizations. Malware generally aims at computers, mobile devices, clients, networks, and servers. Malware can be considered a cyber threat and can cause both financial and reputational damage to people. We can see that organizations usually fall victim to malware attacks and they lose their valuable data and confidential information. It is the same for individuals but still, companies can get harmed worse due to malware attacks. The number of malware attacks all around the world from 2015 to the first half of 2022 demonstrates that malware attacks peaked in 2018 at 1.5 billion and numbers are really high in 2017 and 2019 too. 

In general, malware attack has two purposes. One of them is stealing data and the other one is stealing money. In some cases, cybercriminals capture businesses’ or individuals’ vulnerable data and disclose it. Sometimes they use confidential data as ransom and they allege money in return for data. Since data is crucial for organizations, cybercriminals can achieve their goals because organizations can give anything to rescue their vulnerable data. 

Although individuals that expose to malware get harmed, malware is riskier for business organizations. Imagine medium or large-scale businesses with numbers of employees. Besides the greatness of the attack surface, each employee poses a risk to the organization’s cyber security. In summary, corporations should give adequate importance to malware to protect themselves against malicious cyber risks. 

2 Types of Malware 

  1. Ransomware 

If ransomware infects your computer, it restricts your access and you can not unlock your device until a ransom is paid. Users can infect ransomware on their devices by clicking phishing e-mails or visiting malicious websites that cause drive-by downloading. Users can not realize that they downloaded and installed ransomware on their devices.

On the other side, some of the ransomware attacks appear in on-screen alerts and these alerts express that the user’s files have been encrypted. The main threat in ransomware is to threaten users that the system will be inaccessible unless they pay the ransom. To restore their access, user’s pay the ransom and gain access to their devices and files. 

Ransomware attacks are popular and effective because these attacks benefit from panic and fear of people. Imagine that there is a screen alert on your individual or business computer stating that your files have been encrypted and you have to pay $200 to unlock your system. What would you do? It is impossible for people to neglect it and give up on all files and personal data that have been kept in the hacked device. The instinctive move will be paying the ransom and restoring the system. 

How to protect yourself against ransomware? 

Recovering your organization from a ransomware attack and data breach is hard. You should recover your data resources with the help of data specialists and IT managers. On the other hand, a data breach has heavy sanctions in terms of government and international regulations. Furthermore, you can lose your customers’ loyalty, your reputation, and third-party collaborators. So, learning how to deal with ransomware and its consequences is a must for each modern organization to pursue its life by today’s cybersecurity requirements. 

  • Keeping your anti-virus tools and operating systems up-to-date can prevent you from falling victim to ransomware attacks. 
  • To minimize the destruction of any ransomware attack, you can consider making regular data backups. Even if you lose your vital data due to a ransomware attack, you can run your recovery plan and rescue your data from disappearing forever. 
  • Keep your employee privileges minimum. The more you give privileges and access permissions to your employees, the more your attack surface extends so keep their access privileges limited to avoid unwanted ransomware attacks. 
  • Level up your and your team’s awareness of phishing attacks and types of ransomware. In this way, your team can recognize most of the ransomware’s risky links and prevent themselves from malicious ransomware attacks. 
  1. Spyware 

Spyware is installed on the device without the permission or knowledge of the user. Since users have no intention to download this malicious software, it is called spyware. Spyware is one of the most popular malicious software that threatens users. The purpose of spyware is to capture confidential information such as bank account information, credit card numbers, and login credentials. 

How to protect yourself against spyware? 

Users can open malicious e-mail links from unknown senders,  download malicious files from untrustable resources, and accept pop-up advertisements on several websites. When a victim does one of these activities, spyware starts to infect devices. Spyware fundamentally tracks user activities and collects confidential information. Keyloggers are one of the types of spyware that monitors users’ keystrokes. 

As with any cybersecurity threat, organizations are the main target of spyware attacks so they must take extensive precautions against spyware. VPN (virtual private network) usage is recommendable when it comes to protecting organizations against spyware. VPN simply creates an encrypted tunnel between the resource and the end-user so protects the data that is sent through this tunnel and avoids spyware destruction. 

There are several types of solutions that focus more on protecting organizations against spyware such as remote access VPNs that aim to protect remote employees and remote work models On the other hand, NordLayer’s business VPN service is one of options, and Google’s multi-factor authentication is also recommendable for spyware protection. As a business owner or a manager, you must consider VPN solutions to level up your spyware protection. 

In Summary

Among several types of malware, ransomware and spyware are really common and popular, especially in organizations. This malicious software infects your organization’s resources and steals your vulnerable data. Data breaches can cost expensive to your organization because it affects your finances and reputation in customers’ eyes. Keeping business devices up-to-date, creating awareness, and using tools such as VPN and MFA can diminish the attack surface and minimize your damage. 

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