Malware Explained by Burnt Orange Solutions
Our Saskatoon IT Tips are from the Trusted professionals at Burnt Orange Solutions. We promise to have a one-hour response time for all your Saskatoon IT support needs. Honesty and respect are important to us. In our latest IT Expert tip Article, we discuss malware.
It’s a word you’ve probably heard a lot. You know it’s bad, and that you have software (anti-malware) designed to help you stop it, but in the end, if you don’t really understand how the enemy operates, how can you expect to defeat it?
Malware comes in many different forms and is used by hackers in a number of different ways. It can be used to steal information, locate vulnerabilities in your IT systems for a secondary attack, or simply to cause damage. While cybercriminals continue to innovate new forms of malware and the ways they use it, there are currently three main types that you should be familiar with:
- Malicious Scripts: This type attacks when you or a member of your staff visit the wrong web page. With the right conditions (user with admin rights, an outdated browser, lack of anti-malware software), simply loading the wrong web page is enough to infect your system.
- Embedded Media: While this form also attacks from a web page, it is through an infected media that is embedded in the site, such as a video or audio file. If your browser media player isn’t up to date (which is extremely common among today’s users), simply playing the media file can lead to a malware infection.
- Infected Files: The oldest form of the three is also the simplest. By downloading and running files (media codecs, screensavers, desktop images, etc.) that they haven’t properly inspected ahead of time, or that contain a hidden malicious file, the user openly invites malware into the system.
Beyond simple (yet still surprisingly effective) malware attacks, there are also the more active attack vectors employed by dynamic websites to trick you into clicking the wrong link or downloading the wrong file. We’ve all encountered popular attack vectors used by online advertisers to get us to click their content; pop-ups, time delayed superimposed ads, redirects, required downloads and more.
While ads like these are certainly annoying, they’re not particularly dangerous. What is dangerous is how cybercriminals have followed the advertisers’ lead in using the same methods to get you to visit a malware-infected page or download a disguised malware file. The primary attack vectors used by hackers today include:
- Owned Websites: In this method, a hacker will either trick you into visiting their personally developed malware site or take over and infect a site that is already commonly visited by the public.
- Spoofed Domains: By registering a domain that’s nearly identical to a site that you’d visit without a second thought, hackers can trick you into clicking a link that you think will take you to a familiar page, but instead leads to malware.
- Phishing: Put simply, phishing works by getting the victim to click the wrong link (usually by being instructed to “Click Here…”), and download a dangerous file to their system.
- Cross-site Sculpting: This attack works by injecting client-side scripts into a vulnerable web page. When users view that page, the browser automatically executes the script, usually to steal private information or install malware.
- Malicious Links: Simply by posting a seemingly harmless hyperlink in an email, on a forum, or in a comment, the hacker can sit back and wait for an unsuspecting user to click through to a webpage that hosts a malicious code.
The only truly reliable protection against cybercrime and human error are managed data backups. By regularly backing up your vital data to secure, off-site locations, you ensure that you have an accessible and available copy in the case of data loss, no matter the cause.
Here are a few key steps you can take to protect your business:
- Employ email filtering, encryption, and continuity solutions to ensure that your lines of communication are secured.
- Equip your business with industry-tested security solutions like firewalls, antivirus, antimalware and network monitors to keep your systems safe from external threats.
- Make sure your software and browsers are updated and patched on a regular basis.
- Train your employees in best practices for safe browsing and email conduct so that they don’t click the wrong link or download the wrong file.
Seems like a lot, right?
That can be a lot to handle for a business owner like yourself. You have clients to see to, employees to manage and more on your plate every single day; should you really be expected to also oversee regular maintenance of your cybersecurity all on your own?
OF COURSE NOT!
The best way to ensure that your business is kept safe is by outsourcing your cybersecurity management to a reliable and experienced Managed Services Provider like Burnt Orange Solutions. For an easily budgeted monthly flat rate, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your business is safe from the whatever modern cybercriminals may throw at it.
We hope this article gave you some insight. If you want to ensure your business’s IT security, contact the Trusted Saskatoon IT professionals at Burnt Orange Solutions and we can take IT worries off your plate.
Burnt Orange IT Solutions Products & Services:
- Managed Networks
- Backup and Recovery
- Data and Network Security
- Hosted Services
- Telephone Systems
- Secure WiFi Networks
“IT Support You Can Trust and Understand”