The online world is a dangerous place, and it’s all too easy for the unwary to fall prey to external attacks and internal security breaches. Business software can become infected and end up needing malware removal. From merely being a nuisance, malware has become big business and nobody is immune from the threat. Read the advice from FileHippo on how to protect your business.
What Is Malware?
The term malware covers a number of things. It encompasses computer viruses that seek to infect a machine and stop it from working, spyware that monitors what users are doing, and more recent threats like ransomware that encrypts files and demands money to release them.
These threats can be delivered in a number of ways: via infected email attachments or maliciously constructed websites, for example. Once malware has a foothold on a PC, it will often open up backdoors to allow further infections.
How It Hurts Businesses
While for the home user malware is undoubtedly inconvenient, for a business it can be a disaster. Being unable to access files or losing confidential data can lead to lost business, a damaged reputation and ultimately lost revenue. For smaller businesses in particular, malware can be a massive problem.
Ransomware can be hugely damaging, especially if your backup files aren’t up to date. Malware writers are very clever at using social engineering techniques to trick people into getting infected – disguising email attachments as legitimate business documents like invoices, for example.
It is important to train staff to understand the procedures and policies within the business. Ensuring they are trained to use email communication, use of internet and downloads and have password protection will help in shielding your business from unwanted threats.
Most recently, a number of major US news websites including the New York Times and the NFL have been under attack which has seen adverts hijacked by a malicious campaign that attempts to install “ransomware” on users computers, according to a warning from security researchers Malwarebytes.
If you are unlucky enough to suffer a malware infection, the first step is to disconnect the computer from the internet to prevent it from spreading. You then need to look at malware removal to get rid of the infection; fortunately there are a number of free tools available that can help.
Whatever tool you use, make sure that you have the most up-to-date version. Download it on another machine and transfer it to the infected one using a flash drive. Start the system in Safe Mode, and run the malware scan from there to ensure that it has access to all of the files on the machine.
Infections are notoriously difficult to remove completely; for this reason it’s a good idea to scan the system with a different clean-up tool after the first one has done its job. You may find that this identifies files which have been missed, and in any event it does no harm to get a second opinion.
Prevention is, of course, better than cure. It’s therefore important to have protective measures in place. For smaller organisations there are free antivirus and firewall tools available that can offer PCs protection against infection.
It’s good to get into a regime of scanning the system regularly to ensure that any infections don’t creep in unnoticed. There are scheduling tools available that will do this automatically. Don’t neglect the importance of regular backups either: they may be your last resort for retrieving your data in the event of a severe infection.
Education is important too, so make sure that people using your computers know to be wary of email attachments and links from sources they don’t know or even unsolicited files from ones they do. Practising safe computing is a big step toward avoiding your PC becoming infected in the first place.