Every company, corporation, and government agency must understand how to avoid malware — or at the very least, reduce the risks associated with it. What is the reason for this? Since malicious software is a tragedy waiting to happen. It’s terrible for your business, your clients, and all but the cybercriminal who caused it.
The Costs and Risks Associated with Malware
In reality, according to Accenture, malware cost businesses an average of $2.6 million in 2018. IBM’s X-Force Incident Response and Intelligence Services (IRIS) forecasts are even more pessimistic. Destructive malware costs major multinational corporations an estimated $239 million and kills an average of 12,316 computer workstations and servers, according to the researchers.
By any measure, these figures are frightening. But what makes these figures even more frightening is the fact that preventing both malware attacks and cyberattacks is nearly impossible. In general, industry experts have turned their focus away from malware prevention and toward threat identification, incident response, and recovery.
That isn’t to say that understanding how to avoid malware attacks isn’t relevant. You can try to do whatever you can to prevent malicious software and teach your staff how to stop it. This way, any random threat won’t have an impact on your company, and cybercriminals will have to work harder for it.
So, what are some of the methods for avoiding malware and spyware infiltrating your company? Let’s get this party started.
9 Steps for How to Prevent Malware Attacks from Affecting Your Business
There are also things you can do to protect yourself from malware in general. Some of them are self-evident, while others could be novel ideas or best practises for you to remember.
1. Always Use Reliable Antivirus/Anti-Malware Software
While this might seem to be the most obvious move, you’d be shocked how many small businesses fail to enforce proper endpoint security. Maybe it’s because they feel they’re too small to be a threat, or that their consumer information isn’t vulnerable to such attacks, but that’s utter nonsense. Unfortunately, according to Kaspersky Labs reports, small businesses are the subject of 61% of cyberattacks. To make matters worse, according to the internet security company, even a small hack will cost up to $86,500.
As you can see, when a cyberattack occurs and small businesses are unprepared, it costs them a lot more in the long run. While this might not be a concern for a big company, it may be catastrophic for your small business. This is why it’s important for your small company to follow cyber protection best practises.
2. Use Firewalls, Web Application Firewalls, & Intrusion Detection/Prevention Systems
If you’re a big corporation or organisation, there are some additional measures you can take to stop malicious malware. These defence mechanisms can include the use of: Depending on the size and configuration of your network and IT architecture, these defence mechanisms can include the use of:
- Firewalls are a form of protection against intrusion. Incoming network traffic is filtered by a traditional firewall to decide which packets are safe to allow through to your network and which are not.
- Web Application Firewalls are a form of web application firewall. A web application firewall, unlike a conventional firewall, is designed to protect the web applications from a variety of cyberattacks, including SQL injections. It accomplishes this by examining and analysing requests and input data for suspicious inputs that could enable unauthorised access to the database and its raw data.
- Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) are a form of intrusion detection system that detects By finding existing malware and detecting social engineering threats, an IDS assists in the prevention of attacks. It primarily accomplishes this by scanning network traffic for signs of malware (for example, connecting with command and control servers).
- Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems By inspecting incoming traffic, an IPS complements an IDS. It assists you in preventing application attacks by preventing malware injections, SQL injections, and malicious packets being dropped and network connections being reset to block malicious incoming traffic.
3. Keep All of Your Hardware and Software Up to Date
Using out-of-date tools and (less frequently) hardware is the surest way to weaken the cyber security. It’s like creating a castle with a freshwater moat and alligators, but then deciding to leave the drawbridge down. Many of your protections are made useless as a result. So, what’s the big deal? You should simply hand over all of your passwords to cybercriminals and say, “Have fun!”
(No, we’re not advocating or encouraging you to hand over your passwords and other login credentials.) Allow yourself to unwind. But you get the gist of it.)
So, what can you do to make sure that your defences are active and effective? By keeping them informed. To make sure your hardware and software are up to date, follow these steps:
Regularly check for updates and patches; depend on Microsoft and other developers’ automatic updates;
When updates and patches are posted, apply them as soon as possible.
To prevent coverage gaps, keep your account, invoice, and billing details up to date with any services.
4. Run Regular Scans and Vulnerability Assessments
To ensure that no threats are found, run scans for your antivirus, anti-malware, and IDS solutions on a regular basis. Doing security evaluations and checks on your systems is another great way to avoid malware or mitigate malware that is already on your system. Vulnerability evaluations analyse the network and systems’ applications and configurations for any vulnerabilities that cybercriminals might exploit. This involves not only searching for backdoors, insecure codes, bugs, obsolete software, or other entry points that could be exploited or used to inject malware, but also looking for other entry points that could be exploited or used to inject malware.
5. Implement Spam and Phishing Email Filters
While it’s hard to believe, somebody somewhere is still falling for the ol’ Nigerian Prince email scam (otherwise, cybercriminals wouldn’t bother sending them!). However, email security threats have advanced dramatically since then and are highly persuasive. Malicious ties and attachments are often used. According to Verizon, 94 percent of malware is distributed via email. In addition, email-based phishing schemes like CEO fraud and spearphishing are very real and powerful threats that cost companies millions of dollars per year.
6. Have the Right People in Place
We understand that as a small business owner, you most likely wear several hats. That isn’t to suggest that all of your IT obligations must — or should — fall on your shoulders. This is one of those places where you can really depend on someone who knows what they’re doing. Unfortunately, according to Insureon research, 64% of small business owners claim they handle cyber security on their own. This is unsettling, particularly given the fact that small businesses are a prime target for cybercriminals.
This is why having an in-house IT security specialist who can manage security-related activities on your behalf is important. If recruiting anyone full-time is out of the question, a third-party security-as-a-service (SaaS) provider may be a reasonable choice. A pound of cure is worth an ounce of prevention. And, given the increasingly rising costs of cybercrime from ransomware and other risks, you have the option of paying a small amount now or face paying a lot more later if anything goes wrong.
7. Establish (or Hire) a SOC to Enhance Your Cyber Security Capabilities
If you’re a big corporation or agency, you might want to consider setting up your own security operations centre (SOC) or hiring a third-party SOC. Data collection, threat assessment, and response solutions are all handled by this centre. To detect and analyse risks, it often includes the use of security incident and event management (SIEM) solutions as well as a number of other methods.
8. Develop and Implement Cyber Security Policies
Preventing malware from spreading is an important part of malware security. This contains the following:
- Computer access policies that enable certain workers to stick to certain procedures;
- Using policies of least privilege (POLPs) to restrict user access;
- To limit access, give non-IT users non-administrator accounts;
9. Train Your Employees to Serve as ‘Human Firewalls’
While this may conjure up images of cyborgs or other human-computer hybrids from science fiction, what we’re discussing here is cyber awareness training. It’s all about training the staff how to spot malware, malicious connections, and even phishers.
Employee awareness training should be given to anyone who has access to your network, computers, or other systems inside (and outside) your company. Everything from company executives and board members to entry-level staff, interns, and even contractors falls into this category.
Employees who have been trained to identify and respond to cyber security threats are less likely to fall prey to phishing emails, phone scams, and other forms of assault. Educating your staff on how to prevent malware downloads or instals on your network or computers is one of the best ways to avoid malware downloads or installations.
- Make passwords that are difficult to guess by using powerful and complex passwords.
- Recognize malicious links and stop clicking on them;
- Unverified email senders should not be opened or downloaded;
- Avoid visiting websites that have been hacked or are insecure;
- Do not instal any unlicensed software;
- Not to click on pop-ups or other online advertisements; and
- Do not connect your computer, servers, or other devices to removable hardware or other devices.