Learn about Malware attacks and protection practices.
WHAT IS A MALWARE ATTACK?
Malware is a term that’s most commonly associated with cyberattacks. Malware is a catch-all phrase for any “malicious software” designed to download onto a device without the user’s knowledge to cause severe damage or data breaches. This software is often downloaded via a suspicious email attachment or disguised as a downloadable free tool or flash update on the Internet. Types of Malware include ransomware, spyware, Trojans, worms, and keyloggers. Threat actors use these types of Malware to extract data they can leverage over the victim.
Stolen data from Malware can range from bank information and healthcare records to personal emails and account passwords. As cyberattacks continue to rise and become more sophisticated, the information that can be compromised by a Malware attack is nearly endless.
WHAT IS A REAL-WORLD EXAMPLE OF A MALWARE ATTACK?
In 2019, the city of Baltimore experienced a type of ransomware named Robinhood. This attack knocked all city services offline for weeks, including government emails, property transfers, and tax collections. This type of ransomware is an extraordinarily dynamic and malicious program that makes it impossible to access server data without a digital key. The Robinhood attack cost the city of Baltimore more than $18M, which included a combination of lost or delayed revenue and direct costs to restore networks.
The year prior, Atlanta’s city experienced a ransomware attack, and digital city services similarly came to an abrupt halt. This incident cost the city roughly $17M to recover losses. This ransomware attack should have been an alarm for other cities as all an attacker needs is one weak link to exploit. Weak links are often preventable vulnerabilities such as outdated hardware and software, both of which Baltimore’s city was using.
These two similar ransomware attacks happened within a year of one another, and neither city anticipated such a threat. When an attack hasn’t happened to you or your organization before, it’s natural to question why you should spend money on cybersecurity protection. In the end, costs of damages or theft and the disruption of service information can far outweigh your costs for defense.
HOW TO VALIDATE YOUR CYBERSECURITY POSTURE & PROTECT YOUR ORGANIZATION.
Your organization’s cybersecurity posture is the overall defense against cyberattacks, including all instituted security policies, employee training programs, and deployed security solutions on your networks (i.e., Malware and anti-virus). Your cybersecurity posture also includes the combined security status of all software, hardware, services, and networks, and how secure your organization is as a result of all of these tools.
The first step in validating your cybersecurity posture starts with identifying your organization’s needs and objectives to build out your framework. For example, in the area of increased remote working, it’s essential to update your cybersecurity posture to reflect security policies focused on mobile devices and remote network access. While it’s critical to remain aligned with your organization’s needs, we recommend not sacrificing security for the sake of your bottom line. Your top priority should be to safeguard your company from cyber threats. It’s determining that happy-medium.
Since Malware attacks are becoming more common sophisticated, your organization’s cybersecurity efforts should never end; rather, they develop and evolve based on needs. To do so, we recommend focusing on the following areas:
- Building a cyber team. To be most effective when it comes to your cybersecurity posture, a trusted and efficient team is vital.
- Checking in regularly. Fully understanding the role of cybersecurity standards in the broader IT context and best practices for establishing your framework to remain compliant is critical for all organizations.
- Incorporate cybersecurity into your company’s culture. Your organization needs to understand the business risks associated with cyber threats by incorporating appropriate training for your employees. After all, knowledge is power.
- Executive buy-in. One of the biggest hurdles for cybersecurity services is approved executive buy-in. The result is protected systems and data from unknown cyber threats.
When deployed, Malware can wreak havoc on an organization’s network in no time. The associated risks continue to grow. The solution for security protection includes investing in the right tools and training for your organizations. Check out our cybersecurity services to get started today.
Follow along in this series, where we’ll dive deeper into web-based attacks, real-world examples, and how to protect your organization best.