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What is Malware and How Can You Prevent It?

The IT Universe Writers

Malware is a software program that is designed to disable or damage computer systems, without the knowledge or consent of the user.  The term “malware” is the shortened term for ‘malicious software.’  Malware programs are usually characterized by the intent of the maker. There are different types of malware programs that can be broadly classified to viruses, spyware, Trojans, and worms. There are also other types of malicious programs and codes that can attack computers.

Reports say that the instances of malware attacks are on the rise. They have grown in both sophistication and frequency, making it difficult for business enterprises to defend against these attacks.  As per the experts in computer and data security, the most serious among the malware attacks combine precision, stealth, and social engineering techniques. These programs infiltrate and compromise the system to steal proprietary data that is usually transmitted over classified and corporate networks. Malware attacks often lead to very serious damages before they are detected.

Preventing Malware Attacks

An approach that is proactive is the best way to prevent these attacks. As a start to prevent malware attack in your company, you can educate your staff on ways to understand and protect their devices and computers from these attacks. Here are some of the strategies that can be followed by the employees for a proactive approach to prevent malware.

Avoid Suspicious Email Messages and Links

Educate your employees to ignore suspicious looking and unsolicited email messages. There can be many phishing mails that are intended to look legitimate to the person receiving them.  These messages trick the person into revealing sensitive information or downloading malware. Always keep in mind that businesses will not usually ask for passwords or other personal details through email messages and if you receive such an email, it can be a sign of a phishing attack.

Make Sure that All Security Patches and Updates Are installed Properly

If there are any security patches or updates available, you need to install them as soon as possible to protect your computers and devices against malware attacks. This is especially important for the programs like Adobe, QuickTime, and Java. Also, try to turn on automatic updates whenever possible.

Avoid Suspicious Websites

Spoofing popular websites is a method followed by malware attackers. Therefore, if you notice anything out of the ordinary in a website, like the features, URL or anything else, you need to be very much careful. Make sure not to provide any sensitive data to such websites. In order to ensure that the website you are visiting is authentic, read through the URL and ensure that the site uses HTTPS.

Use Strong and Unique Passwords

Many of us use easy to guess passwords, or the same password for all accounts, which is not a good thing. It’s very important to use strong and unique passwords for different accounts. Use two factor authentication wherever possible to further secure your accounts.

Review Software Carefully Before Downloading

Before downloading and installing anything new on your computer, you need to review the program and understand it to ensure legitimacy. This is applicable for the free or trial versions also.

Turn On Firewall

Firewall is a set of rules that decides if the information can access your computer. Therefore, you need to ensure that the firewall is properly configured and turned on, as this can help prevent unauthorized access.

Cut Down Application Privileges 

Malware programs usually need complete access to the PC for it to run properly. Therefore, you will need to make use of account controls to limit the privileges of a program. You need to limit what a program can do without user permission and intervention. After that, when you are notified of applications or software programs trying to make changes to your computer, you’ll just need to check these notifications and get help to stop the malware program from making changes to the computer.

Install Anti Malware or Anti Virus Program

Making use of advanced antivirus programs can help you prevent malware attacks. These programs keep a watchful eye over the computer to protect it from security threats and malware attacks. Using reputable antivirus programs can help you prevent and block infiltrations before happening. However, keep in mind that antivirus programs might not detect all the malware programs out there, but can be considered a baseline defense mechanism against the popular malware programs.

In conclusion, these are some of the best practices to prevent malware attacks in business enterprises. Following these practices will ensure that end users and employees build safe and secure computing habits. These habits and practices should be enforced at the enterprise level by a layered defense, which make use of technology to find, prevent, block and quarantine these attacks. You can find solutions like enterprise firewalls, anti-virus or anti-malware programs and data loss prevention that offer much of the functionalities that are required by businesses to fight against malware attacks.