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What Everyone Needs to Know About Malware

Whether you work from home or run a business, data security is vital for keeping your information safe. Data breaches cost companies approximately $2 trillion in 2019, and the number of data breaches is constantly increasing.

It doesn’t matter which sector your business is in because companies of all types have their computers hacked for their information, access to their bank accounts, or client credit card numbers.

Here is information about malware and the cybersecurity breaches you need to guard against.

What is a Cyber Security Breach?

Also known as a data breach, a cybersecurity breach can happen intentionally by attacks from hackers or unintentionally, if a data leak occurs to an unknown computer or other devices.

The data leaks may include private company information, customer credit information, banking records, health information, intellectual property, or several other types of data that needs protection.

Cyber and data security is vital to protect a computer or network with which you work. Most people now file their taxes electronically, so hackers can access your financial data by implanting malware on your computer.

However, to understand why protecting your personal computer or business network is crucial, you should first understand malware.

What is Malware?

Malware is the term for malicious software. Malicious software is anything from computer viruses to spyware, trojan horses, worms, and other software written to find private or confidential information on someone’s computer or a network.

Phishing attacks use malware to seek information like financial information, social security numbers, or intellectual property from which hackers can make money. The links in instant messages, text messages, or emails can be malware that someone is trying to embed on your computer or a network.

Once malware is in a system, it is like having a key to your home. They can find out almost everything about you by accessing your computer. Malware also infects corporate computer networks and gains access to millions of financial accounts, private information, or data that corporations try to secure.

Although data breaches are illegal, it’s difficult to prosecute the crimes since hackers can easily cover their tracks. If your home system is accessed, you can report the crime, but it can be impossible to find the perpetrator since they can be anywhere in the world.

However, when corporations and governments report hacking, national or international law enforcement agencies will investigate it to try to find the hackers. If someone hacks your company’s computers, law firms like Murfett Legal can sue the hackers for damages.

They also help write comprehensive cybersecurity policies for your business or help them form data breaches policies and write response plans for attacks on the computer network.

The three primary types of malware are:

  • Ransomware – Ransomware is a malware that keeps you from accessing the data on your computer, or network until you pay a ransom. The sole purpose of ransomware is to make money for the hackers, they don’t try to get the information within the systems.
  • Drive-by Attacks – These attacks occur when hackers find websites with lax security and embed malware into them. Then, when unsuspecting people visit the site, they are unknowingly directed to another site that the hacker controls.

The malware allows them to search your computer for financial information or any valuable data that you may have on your system.

  • Trojan Horses – A trojan horse appears to be useful software that you may purposely download onto your computer. However, hackers write the code to seek the financial data that you have on your computer or a network.

By the time you realize you have money missing, your identity can be stolen, costing you time and money to try to clear your credit and your name because of the attack.

Protecting Your System

Malware doesn’t necessarily go after the data on your computer. Hackers can use it to activate your system anytime that they wish. For instance, if your computer has a webcam on it, they can activate the camera at their leisure and use it to spy on you.

Since many people, especially young people, have computers in their bedrooms, hackers use the webcam to spy on what people are doing. They may take videos of a young woman undressing or spy on couples having sex, then release a video of it online.

Fortunately, you can easily protect your system by downloading a firewall, or cybersecurity software, onto your computer. These programs run viruses, spyware, and other scans seeking out security breaches on your system.

If any are found, the software isolates them, then deletes the malware to prevent the attackers from getting any of your personal, financial, or other confidential data.

You can also take precautions by never opening an email from senders that you don’t know or answering random messages.