What is malware and can it impact my business?

Malicious software commonly known as ‘malware’ affects businesses on a daily basis. It disrupts IT and computer processes and in extreme cases can delete, steal or hold to ransom valuable business and personal data.

Malware can be thwarted by firewalls and cyber security but by being vigilant and understanding how different types of malware work can help prevent your computer and network becoming infected. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common forms of malware to help you understand what each of the terms means and where they come from:

A computer virus infects parts or all of your computer when the file they are attached to is opened. They spread via email or by downloading attachments online. They vary on what they do; some do very little, perhaps simply changing your desktop wallpaper while others can render your operating system completely useless.

Worms are very similar to viruses but the key difference is how they spread. They can replicate themselves meaning that they do not require human interaction to be passed from one computer to another. Usually they do this by entering the user’s email address book and sending out infected emails masquerading as the computer’s user. This can result in several networks becoming infected in a very short space of time.

A type of malware that often makes the news and is on the increase, ransomware is a type of software which holds parts (or all) of your computer files hostage and demands a fee to release them. Usually your data is encrypted so well that there is no other way to retrieve the data other than paying. They spread in a similar way to viruses.

These are usually embedded into files that the user downloads online. Often the program you have downloaded has a genuine use and will function normally but during the download additional malicious files were hidden away and become active once on your computer. Trojans can be used in a number of ways, deleting data, creating back-doors around security processes or sending spam emails.

Phishing is a type of scam where websites or emails masquerade as a legitimate source such as your bank. They use false links that fool you into entering important personal or financial details such as your bank account which can then be exploited. Often these appear within emails with suspicious content or links.

How can Pennine help?
There are several best practices that you can do to prevent infection. Pennine can provide a range of enterprise-grade anti-malware and firewall software solutions that can help mitigate risk and keep your data safe. Even SME’s who do not have the benefit of an internal IT department can rely on Pennine to provide cyber security protection and support. Contact us for an audit on your IT Security on 0161 763 2000 or email us