BMN Blog

JUN 14
Malware Detection and Prevention: the never-ending battle

Malware are created with the intent to damage or disable our mobile devices, computers or servers. These attempts can include disrupting computing or communication operations, trying to steal sensitive data, accessing our private networks, or hijacking our systems to exploit their resources. With the tremendous growth in email and internet use over the last couple of decades, we have seen a corresponding explosion of growth in malware.

 

Malware primarily targets personal, financial or business information, usually for monetary gain. It can also be used for identity theft, cyberwarfare, espionage and/or to disrupt service. Victims can be governments, companies, organizations or individual users. Cities, municipalities and companies of all sizes have been targeted. In order for a malware program to be successful it must be able to run without being detected, shut down or deleted. Cyber hackers work around the clock and across the globe to make this a reality.

 

Malware can take several different forms:

 

  • Virus: these are spread through downloading a file or running a program
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  • Worms: spread automatically by replicating themselves across computers or networks
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  • Trojan: spreads by looking legitimate but disguises its true intent.
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  • Spyware: monitors user activities for marketing purposes or uses a keylogger
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  • Adware: serves unwanted ads or redirects the user’s browser traffic
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  • Dialer: runs in the background and hijacks computer resources
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Microsoft recently reported that one in every 14 downloads from the internet may now contain malware. With the rise of mobile computing and social media in recent years, we are witnessing an exponential rise in malware proliferation. Millions of computers are exposed to the threat of unwanted software. In the first six months of 2017, an average of six million computers encountered unwanted software every month. 

 

Awareness is essential but that’s only half of the battle. What can we do to help prevent or at least slow down Malware?

 

Here are seven battle tested actions that you can use to protect your computers and networks from malware:

  1. Anti-malware software – You should always seek to have the latest version of a common malware-detection program installed on all of your devices to detect and destroy viruses and malware.
  2. Anti-spyware software – This will provide real-time protection for computers against the installation of malware by scanning incoming traffic and blocking threats as they arise.
  3. Spam filters – These block or quarantine email messages with suspicious content or from unknown senders to alert users not to open or respond.
  4. Firewalls and IDS – Firewalls and intrusion detection systems act as traffic cops for network activity and block suspicious activity. This technology protects computers, servers or networks from malicious applications or cyberattack. Firewalls may not prevent malware installation, but they can detect attempts to install the malware.
  5. Security scans – This activity tests business websites and enterprise software for known malware that may have infected application code. Diligence is needed to consistently do security scans.
  6. Regular updatesAlways keep network, desktop and device software and operating systems up to date. The security patches that are issued regularly by trusted software vendors should be installed to detect and deflect these constant threats.
  7. Common sense – The easiest way to deal with malware is to not get it in the first place. That’s easier said than done though. We can avert these potential disasters by practicing common sense which assumes that any new program is potentially harmful until proven safe. This should always be our mantra when it comes to malware detection and prevention in our organizations.

 

These seven simple battle tested actions can help slow down malware attempts on your computers and networks. It takes a concerted defensive battle effort and plan from you and your IT Vendor to protect you and your organization.

 

Ron Prevatte is the Director of Business Development with Integrated Solutions.

                  

 

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