Anyone who has ever used a computer has at least a vague understanding of what malware is. But just to make sure everyone is on the same page, malware is an umbrella term for any software that stops an electronic device from working properly. That’s right. It’s not just computers that can be infected with malware these days. Modern malware has evolved far past its computer virus origins, able to hit smart phones, servers, and a range of other equipment and hardware.

Malware gets its hooks into a device by tricking the user into downloading malicious code. This code hides behind an innocent seeming file name, on websites, in email attachments, in pop-up ads, and a number of other disguises. Once the corrupted application or code has been downloaded, the virus activates and proceeds to wreak havoc on your device.

Depending on how it was programmed, the malware will do a number of things, such as self-replicating to spread itself to other devices, installing an application to log keystrokes, blocking access to files or to the system itself, breaking or corrupting components of your system to cripple it, or spamming you with pop-up ads you can’t get rid of fast enough. Whether malware is a simple nuisance or a major crisis is based entirely on the intentions of the hacker who created the code.

The most common types of malware are:

  • Computer Viruses – Malware that replicates itself from file to file
  • Trojan Horses – Malicious code disguised as something innocuous, it typically attempts to steal passwords and files from users
  • Worms – Malware that spreads across networks to cause widespread damage
  • Spyware – Difficult to detect, this malware monitors user activity like web browsing habits and keystrokes
  • Logic Bombs – Often hidden inside harmless-looking programs, this malware can be triggered at random or by a specific user activity, and will crash systems and wipe hard drives

Avoiding any type of malware infection should be a primary concern when it comes to your business’ IT security. A reliable and routinely updated antimalware program should be an IT security staple, along with the traditional antivirus and firewall software, and a high grade email spam filter. In addition to taking every precaution possible to stop malware from reaching your systems and network, make a point of educating your employees on the dangers these infections pose, and how to avoid inadvertently compromising your network.

Want to learn more about what you can do to protect your business from cyber threats like malware? Contact us at info@tieroneit.com or (443) 589--1150. We are the trusted IT professionals for businesses in Baltimore, Washington, DC and across Maryland.

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