Cyberattacks have risen to become among the most pressing concerns today. Given the potential damage that these attacks may cause, ordinary users and large enterprises and organizations alike should be worried. Practically everyone who uses computers or connect to the internet must take precautions not to fall victim to such attacks.
Many of these attacks are caused by malware – malicious software that performs various processes that compromise security. In 2018, there were 10.52 billion malware attacks recorded. As such, it’s important to know the ways how these malware-based cyberattacks can be prevented through various security measures including using malware detection and removal platforms.
Among the most concerning malware, today are ransomware, trojans, and information stealers. This malware can cause data loss, downtime, and even business closure. Ransomware outbreaks, for example, have crippled business and government operations all over the world.
Trojans and information stealers are often used by advanced persistent threats – hackers who stealthily infiltrate the infrastructures of large corporations – to continuously siphon data from the network. Through malware, these malicious actors have successfully stolen customer and financial data in massive security breaches, the victims of which are now exposed to fraud and identity theft.
With the rise of malware attacks and the negative effects they can cause, it’s critical for users to implement measures that can protect them from malware. Here are seven ways users can thwart malware-based cyberattacks.
1. Antiviruses and Anti-malware
Antiviruses are widely-available software that can protect against most malware. They can be used to perform routine malware scans. Most personal and home users can benefit from features such as real-time scanning and removal.
These functionalities can readily stop common and widespread malware from infecting their devices as long as these tools are kept updated. Some antiviruses, however, are not enough to counter sophisticated malware so it’s also important to choose solutions from reputable providers.
Firewalls can regulate traffic that’s being sent out or received on devices, servers, or web applications. They can block malicious traffic that tries to access these devices, preventing hackers from successfully implanting malware into the devices.
If a computer is infected with malware, firewalls can also block the outgoing traffic that this malware tries to use, stopping Trojans and information stealers from transmitting stolen data back to hackers.
Sandboxing is used to protect computers and networks from more advanced threats that typically evade antivirus software. Hackers have become quite clever at disguising malware. They can even embed malware into legitimate files.
In order to screen for such threats, organizational users can use sandboxes – dedicated workstations that are used to scan and test files, email attachments, and storage devices if they contain malware. Malware can be freely made to cause damage to the sandbox. But since sandboxes are isolated devices, malware can be identified while being prevented from coming into contact with the rest of the network.
4. Content Disarm and Reconstruction
Content disarm and reconstruction (CDR) is an advanced malware protection method that is currently used mainly by enterprises. CDR essentially sanitizes the files by removing just the malicious code and keeping the document usable.
This mechanism makes it more versatile and capable compared to antiviruses and sandboxing as it can recover potentially important information from the infected files. Odix which specializes in File-based attack protections and CDR was recently awarded a grant of 2 million euros from the EC to further develop their technology to SME’s.
5. Email Scanning and Spam Filtering
Emails have also been used by hackers to execute cyberattacks. They try to trick users into downloading malware disguised as attachments or clicking on malicious web links. A way to prevent this is to use email services that have built-in antiviruses that automatically scan attachments. Email services can also feature advanced spam filtering that could also screen out mass-sent emails that contain these malicious attachments and links.
6. Phishing Training
Another way malware can get into systems is through social engineering attacks like phishing. Malware can be spread through phishing emails or instant messages which are designed to fool users into downloading and running malware.
Users can help avoid falling for such ruse by learning to spot and discard phony emails and messages. Organizations can also implement anti-phishing tools that can train users on how to react to suspicious emails and phishing attempts.
7. Browsing and Download Protection
Plugins and web extensions can also be installed as an added protection. Safe browsing plugins can help users avoid malicious web links by marking which links are safe to click.
Likewise, download protection web extensions can determine if the files downloaded from the internet are free from malware and are safe to execute. These safety measures can help users avoid getting malware into their devices.
As malware-based attacks continue to grow, everyone should do their part in equipping themselves with the right tools to keep their data secure. Cybersecurity should be a priority and it is high time that everyone looks for capable security solutions that will protect their data and mitigate any possible damage that malware-based attacks can cause.