Top 8 Malware Types Every Organization Must Defend Against

Malware, a malicious software, provides cybercriminals with unauthorized access to computer systems. It includes various types of software code, each with its distinct methods to impact the affected systems. These can range from stealing sensitive information and data to causing system-wide outages and damage. Protecting against malware involves using antimalware software, keeping systems updated, and being cautious when downloading files or clicking on links.

Here are the top 8 types of malwares every organization should be aware of:

1. Adware: Adware is software that floods users with unwanted advertisements and pop-ups. It can result in system slowdowns, privacy breaches, and even additional malicious software installation. Adware is commonly bundled with free programs and can be unknowingly installed by users. Once installed, it tracks users' browsing behaviors and displays targeted ads, which can be intrusive. Moreover, adware can utilize system resources, leading to diminished performance and an overall negative user experience.

2. Computer virus: Computer viruses can replicate and spread from one computer to another. Once they infect a system, they can modify or corrupt files and programs, leading to malfunctions or data loss. Viruses can spread through various means, such as infected email attachments, compromised websites, or file downloads. Some viruses can remain dormant until certain conditions are met, making them difficult to detect. Due to their destructive potential, it's crucial to have robust antivirus software when interacting with digital content to minimize the risk of infection.

3. Worms: Worms are standalone malware that can replicate and spread across networks without user action. Worms can spread without a host program, which can quickly cause damage to networked systems. Due to their ability to self-replicate and propagate across networks, worms can disrupt and harm computer systems, making them a significant cybersecurity threat.

4. Trojans: Trojans are malicious software that pretend to be genuine and trustworthy programs to deceive users into installing them. Once they have infiltrated a system, they can steal sensitive information or establish entry points for additional malware.

5. Keyloggers: Keyloggers can secretly record a user's keystrokes on a computer or mobile device. The recorded keystrokes can include sensitive information such as system passwords, debit/credit card numbers, and other personal data. Attackers can use this captured information to commit identity theft or financial fraud. Keyloggers can be installed through phishing emails, infected software downloads, or other deceptive methods. To protect against it, it's essential to be cautious while downloading files or clicking on URLs.

6. Fileless malware: This malicious software operates in the computer's memory rather than installing code directly onto the target system's hard drive. Detecting this type of threat is challenging for traditional antivirus software because it does not involve any files that can be scanned. Instead of relying on files, this malware exploits system tools and applications to conduct its malicious activities. Organizations must deploy advanced endpoint protection and detection solutions to effectively identify and block fileless malware and combat this growing security concern.

7. Ransomware: Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts files on the target system and makes them inaccessible. The cybercriminals then ask for a ransom in exchange of the decryption key. Ransomware attacks can have devastating impacts on organizations, causing data loss, financial harm, and reputational damage. It's essential for organizations to implement robust cybersecurity measures to prevent and mitigate ransomware attacks.

8. Rootkits: Rootkits can conceal their presence on a computer or other device. Cybercriminals use them to gain unauthorized access to a system, and they are very difficult to detect using traditional security tools. Once a rootkit is installed, it can give an attacker almost complete control over the affected device, and the attacker can carry out various malicious activities without being detected.

To protect an organization from malware attacks, it's crucial to implement a multi-layered cybersecurity approach. This may include using up-to-date antivirus and anti-malware software, regularly updating systems and software, conducting employee cybersecurity training, implementing network segmentation, enforcing the principle of least privilege, and regularly backing up critical data. Additionally, employing email and web filtering, implementing strong password policies, and conducting regular security audits can help strengthen the organization's defenses against malware.

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