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Malware - Hiding in plain site - What is it and How can you prevent it

What is Malware?

Malware is like APTs (Advanced Persistent Threats) annoying cousin that just won’t take a hint. Just like APTs, targeted malware is more often than not deployed with the objective of collecting as much information as possible, with as little ruckus as possible in order to remain undetected and ‘fly-under-the-radar’ for longer. However overall Malware ranges in the scope of it maliciousness, and is often used as an ‘umbrella’ term that covers a whole range of hostile software including spyware, viruses and adware. Malware can infect a computer with the single goal of creating annoying popup ads, or could be of a much more sinister nature that steals data and spreads to other systems. It is also one of the most common types of cyber attacks when looked at in whole, and perhaps most efficient for hackers because they can reuse the same basic sets of code and then just rinse and repeat to start the chaos all over again.

Here Are The Facts:

According to Symantec, 317 million new pieces of malware were created in 2014, an increase of 26%, which amounts to almost 1 million new threats being released every single day. An alarming trend has also occurred with attackers identifying which programs specific companies use and then ‘Trojanizing’ the updates by hiding malware inside them, waiting for companies to install the software and in effect infect themselves.

317 million new pieces of malware were created in 2014, an increase of 26%, which amounts to almost 1 million new threats being released every single day.

However malware isn’t only limited to PCs and laptops, attackers have kept up with the times and smartphones and other mobile devices are quickly becoming their new favourite playground. 17% of all Android apps (around 1 million apps) on the market were classified as malware in 2014, and a further 36% are considered as ‘grayware’ apps that may contain spyware, assault users with an onslaught of advertising, etc.

How Can You Stay Safe?

1. Invest in your protection

Regardless of whether it’s your personal laptop or a set of company computers, investing in a reputable antivirus software such as Bitdefender is the first step to better malware protection.

2. Download only from reputable sites

Always check the URL of the website you’re visiting to make sure it is the right page. Never update software from emails, instead go to the site directly and navigate to the update page from there.

3. Beware of attachments

Email attachments in the form of PDFs may seem convenient however never download them from unknown senders. PDFs can be embedded with executable code that will launch when the file is opened and infect your computer.

4. Professional Services

If your company deals with sensitive information, finances, legal documents, or has clients who do then looking into Managed Security Services (MSS) is a great option. MSS provides 24/7/365 monitoring of networks by a team of dedicated IT specialists who monitor your system in real time checking for any inconsistencies and blocking any malicious attacks. They can also take over your patching and updates remotely so you never have to worry about updating you systems yourself and running the risk of infecting it with trojanized software.

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