As a business owner who relies on computers or other devices for operations, it’s imperative that you learn how to protect your network from malware.
Malware, or malicious software, is designed to harm computer systems, steal sensitive data, or cause operational failures that lead to financial losses for companies.
Studies by Symantec Corporation and Cisco reveal that cybercriminals launched an estimated 430 million unique pieces of malware during 2015 alone!
In this post, we’ll share some expert strategies on how you can safeguard your network against these various forms of threats, so they won’t enter.
What is Malware?
Malware refers to any software designed to disrupt computer systems and their operations. This term encompasses trojans, viruses, worms, ransomware, and any other malicious programs created for cybercrime’s benefit. These are used to infiltrate networks and obtain sensitive data, such as company secrets or intellectual property, from cybercriminals.
Malware is created every day. In fact, according to the AV-TEST Institute (via Symantec), almost 350-450 thousand malware applications are released each day! Allowing even one piece of malware on your network can cause significant damage – so it should be taken seriously.
Types of Malware
Malware comes in various forms; thus, it is important to become familiar with its different varieties to protect yourself against any possible attacks. Here are some of the more prevalent types of malware:
– virus replicates itself and infects other files.
– Trojan horses disguise itself as legitimate software but can do malicious actions like steal information.
– Ransomware locks down your system’s data until a ransom payment is made.
The notorious WannaCry attack on May 12th, 2017, alone infected over 230 thousand computers worldwide! Protecting yourself against all these attacks simultaneously might seem daunting. Still, certain measures can safeguard you better than others – which we cover next.
Why is Malware Dangerous?
Malware can cause irreparable harm to both businesses and networks, including the loss of crucial data, financial resources, and company reputation – which all play an integral part in running successful organizations today.
For example, consider the Equifax hack caused by malware, in which fraudsters gained access to the personal information of about half of the American population.
How to Protect Your Network from Malware- Best Practices
Malware attacks are becoming increasingly common and can lead to massive data breaches and financial losses. With the help of these tips, you can safeguard your business against any potential threats!
1. Train Your Employees on Cybersecurity
Training your employees on cybersecurity best practices is one of the best ways to protect your network from malware. Malware can enter a computer network through emails or messages that unknowing staff members open. By providing regular cyber awareness and IT security training, you can empower them with the knowledge they need to identify potential threats and how to deal with them correctly.
Did you know that 95% of successful cyber-attacks are caused by human error? (IBM Security Report) So investing in employee cybersecurity education will improve their understanding and the overall strength of system defenses. We have seen companies lose 100’s thousands of dollars due to a lack of employee processes and training. Especially when you’re sending a business wire, for example, we need to ensure you have at least two verifications that this is a verified transaction. We have seen money go missing like this too many times.
2. Use Strong Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication
One of the simplest yet most effective ways to prevent malware attacks is by using strong passwords. A strong password contains a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols that are difficult for hackers to guess or crack.
For example, use phrases like “My2dogslovesoccer!” instead of simple combinations like “12345.” Also, enable two-factor authentication on all accounts that support it (such as email accounts), which provides an additional layer of protection when logging into sensitive information or applications.
3. Keep Your Software Up-to-Date
Updating all essential programs like antivirus and operating systems as soon as an update becomes available is essential to protecting your network from malware attacks. Outdated software leaves vulnerabilities for hackers to exploit with their malicious code; thus, updating them as soon as updates become available is crucial in safeguarding against this threat. 3rd party software also needs patching. Having a vulnerability management system ensures that you stay on top of all CVE’s (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) that might affect your organization.
For instance, many ransomware attacks exploited PC users running outdated Windows XP systems because Microsoft stopped providing support for this version. By installing regular updates on all your devices across different platforms (Mac OS X or Linux), you have a better chance of keeping malware at bay.
4. Use Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Software
To effectively defend against malware attacks, using this software is indispensable. These tools can detect and eliminate any attempts by malware to infiltrate your network and gain entry.
Choose a reputable commercial-grade software provider who can deliver superior solutions against all cyber threats. It’s also wise to truly understand what software works and does not by being involved in groups where people talk about things like threats and experiences around virus and malware attacks.
5. Back Up Your Data Regularly
Backing up your data daily is crucial to protecting your network from malware. Malware can not only steal sensitive information but also delete or encrypt it, rendering it unusable for you and your business.
By backing up important files and documents frequently, you mitigate the damage caused by a successful malware attack. According to a study conducted by the IBM Security Cost of Data Breach Report 2020, data backups can reduce the cost of cyberattacks by 49%.
6. Use Firewalls and Network Segmentation
Firewalls can help block unauthorized access to your network by analyzing incoming and outgoing traffic. Network segmentation involves dividing the network into smaller sections to minimize the potential damage caused by malware spreading throughout your system. Combining both practices is crucial to establishing a solid security posture for your business. Segmentation using zerotrust configurations can also be considered to achieve greater levels of protection.
Make sure you have firewalls set up on all entry points to prevent any unauthorized access attempts and enforce rigid password policies across all devices used on the network as well.
7. Limit User Permissions
Limiting user permissions can go a long way toward protecting your network from malware. By defining what users are allowed to do on specific devices and software, you can prevent unauthorized downloads or software installations that could introduce malware into the network.
One way of doing this is by implementing role-based access control (RBAC), which gives each user customized permissions based on their job position. For example, an intern might not need as many administrator privileges as a department head. This helps ensure only those who require a certain level of authority have access to the files and applications they need most for their work.
8. Monitor Your Network for Suspicious Activity
By closely watching for suspicious network activity, you can quickly respond to potential threats and limit any damage done by malware. Antivirus software will detect and delete any harmful programs on your system while providing logs of all network activity.
Regularly review these logs to identify unusual patterns or unauthorized access attempts. This will allow you to take swift action if there is an intrusion into your system before the situation escalates into a more significant problem. Taking all your information into a SEIM might also help centralize monitoring and logging.
9. Implement a Disaster Recovery Plan
Implementing a disaster recovery plan is an essential practice for mitigating the impact of malware attacks on your network. This involves creating a recovery protocol to follow in the event of a breach or attack, including regular data backups and quick restoration processes to retrieve crucial information that has been compromised.
By having such plans at hand, you’ll be better prepared to deal with unfortunate situations while minimizing data loss and financial damages.
10. Regularly Test Your Security Measures
It is essential to regularly test and assess the security measures you have in place to ensure they are functioning correctly. This includes conducting scans for spyware, malware infections, or intrusion prevention on your computer system. Staying up-to-date with software package updates must be a priority as well.
Running regular vulnerability assessments can help reveal any weaknesses that cybercriminals may exploit before they become an issue. It’s important to stay wary of all of these attacks and always look out for potential new threats, such as IoT devices that need protection too! Some companies also choose pen-testing as a way to see if their company resources are vulnerable to an attack.
How Can Crown Computers Help?
We provide cutting-edge antivirus software, intrusion detection, and prevention measures, as well as regular system updates, to keep you ahead of the latest threats. Our team will work with you to implement best practices for passwords and security settings, too.
You can trust Crown Computers to be your first line of defense against malware attacks so that you can focus on running a successful business without worrying about cybercriminals gaining access through your network or mobile devices!
Contact us today – see what we have to offer you!
Protecting your network from malware is crucial in today’s world. By implementing the best strategies discussed here – you’ll have taken the first important steps toward safeguarding your computer system against malicious attacks!