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What Is Malware?

One of the biggest threats businesses face online is malware. Learn how Cox Business MalBlock® and our Security suite helps safeguard your most valuable data.

While the Internet is an essential aspect for many organization’s daily operations, it can also pose a security risk. Perhaps one of the biggest threats businesses face online is malware. Malware is an umbrella term for any type of malicious software designed to gain access to sensitive data, like banking information, personal data and healthcare records. The damage malware can cause your business is expansive. Learn how malware works and how you can safeguard your business against various online threats.

What Does Malware Do?

Malware refers to all types of malicious software, including viruses, spyware, worms and ransomware. It’s used by cybercriminals to carry out various attacks, such as:

 

  • Infecting a single device or an entire network
  • Stealing a user’s personal data for identity theft
  • Stealing financial and banking account information
  • Taking control of a device to launch attacks on other devices in the network

How Does Malware Work?

There are several methods a cybercriminal can use to infect a device with malware. Some common methods include:

 

  • Phishing scams
  • Fake software installations
  • Infected USB drives
  • Malicious advertisements and applications
  • Text messages with malicious links

Types of Malware

Many types of malware exist, including:

Ransomware

This is one of the most profitable and popular types of malware used by online hackers. Ransomware steals a user’s critical data and holds it hostage. The hacker will then ask for money in exchange for returning the information.

Rootkit

This software can be hidden on a device without your knowledge. It allows hackers to steal information and perform other malicious attacks remotely.

Computer Worms

This malicious software quickly replicates and spreads to any device on your network. A worm will infect a device via a downloaded file, disrupt device performance and cause data loss.

Adware

With this type of malware, your browser will continuously redirect you to malicious websites or advertisements attempting to further infect your device.

Spyware

This software secretly runs on your device and captures all your online activity, reporting personal and banking information back to the hacker. The hacker will then use this information to commit fraud or identity theft.

Keyloggers

A keylogger is a common type of spyware used to record your keystrokes in order to gain login information to personal and banking accounts.

Trojans Horses

Disguised as legitimate software, a Trojan horse will sneak its way onto your device and access your data. The Trojan horse then infects your computer with more malware and modifies sensitive data.

Viruses

This malicious software is typically attached to a document or file. Once opened, the virus will replicate and spread from one device to another. Viruses are used to disrupt a device’s ability to operate normally. Viruses can halt business operations and result in data loss.

How to Detect Malware

The most common signs a device is infected with malware are:

 

  • Slow computer performance
  • The Internet browser redirects you to sites you didn’t attempt to visit
  • Constant warnings your computer has a virus followed by prompts to download an antivirus program
  • Frequent pop-up ads

How to Remove Malware

Once malware has infected a device, it can be difficult to remove. The method in which to do so will depend on the type of malware infecting your device. Here are a few methods you can use to remove malware:

Put Your Device on Safe Mode

Safe mode allows your computer to perform checks while only loading the minimum required software and programs. If your device is infected with malware that automatically loads when you start your computer, safe mode will prevent it from opening. This makes it easier to locate the malware and remove it from your system.

Run a Malware Scanner

There are malware scanners equipped to remove certain infections, such as viruses. If you already have an antivirus program, use a different scanner as the one you have may not be detecting the malware. Keep in mind you should only use scanners from a reliable source.

Clear Your Cache

Ensure your homepage hasn’t been altered or changed by malware, then go to “Settings” to clear your browser’s cache. This will get rid of anything that doesn’t need to be downloaded when you use the Internet.

 

Keep in mind if you can’t successfully remove malware from your device, your only option is to get a new operating system and redownload all your applications. This can be a time-consuming and costly process that can hurt your business. That’s why preventing malware from entering your network is the best way to protect your business.

How Protect Against Malware

Every business should focus on preventative measures to stop cyber threats, like malware, from entering their network. Malware protection requires a combination of advanced technology and high-level network visibility. Cox Business MalBlock leverages machine learning to uncover current and emerging threats to block them before they cause any damage. Receive company-wide cyber quickly and gain the peace of mind you need.

What can Cox Business Security Systems do for your business?

Our business security solutions offer peace of mind. Find out how customized alarm system designs, robust reporting and analytics, remote access and more can help protect your business.

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