If you have a small business it’s important to know what malware affects small businesses in 2020. It common for business owners to have some understanding of what a virus is but fail to realize that viruses are only part of the problem. Viruses are just one type of infection which falls under the larger umbrella of malware. So what exactly is malware and how does malware affects small businesses in 2020?
According to Wikipedia in the simplest sense malware “is any software intentionally designed to cause damage to a computer, server, client, or computer network.”
However, not all malware are viruses although many use the term interchangeably. For example, not every computer is made by Dell. Dell is just one of many brands of computers and viruses are just one brand of several types of malware.
The categories of malware that affect small businesses include viruses, bots, scareware, ransomware, adware, spyware, rootkits, and worms.
Disrupts the normal use of the computer. Usually characterized by sluggish performance and crashing. A virus’s goal is to destroy and harm computer data. It can mean encrypting the data so it’s inaccessible to the user (such as ransomware which we covered in this blog article) or by corrupting the operating system. Virus malware tends is generally made for petty reasons. Mainly only to cause havoc. The creator of a virus may have no way of making money from it. Ransomware is different.
This type of malware encrypts your data and you need the pay some type of ransom in order to get your files back. We covered ransomware like the Wannacry ransomware attack in this article. Payment for ransomware is commonly done by cryptocurrency, gift cards, or other untraceable means. Paying the hundreds or thousands of dollars requested is no guarantee that you will get your data back. Depending on your small business without your data you might not be able to continue operations. This malware affects small businesses in 2020 to a crippling degree.
This type of attack is a numbers game. Your computer and thousands of others can be used under the direction of one individual (The Bot Master). After being infected by this type of malware the infected computers are then used in an orchestrated action. A DDoS attack for example.
A DDoS attack (distributed denial of service attack) is when multiple computers are attempting to access a website constantly overwhelm it. A website and its hosted network have a finite number of resources. If enough people repeatedly attempt to access that site it can be made inaccessible for other users not involved in the attack. This is one of the worst ways malware affects small businesses in 2020. Fewer people coming to your website means less money in your pocket.
An extreme infection can infect the operating system level. A computer that is infected with a rootkit is as exploited as it gets. A rootkit allows for the control and editing by a malicious 3rd party on every level of the system. Passwords can be changed, accounts can be locked, keystrokes can be logged, any number of things are possible. It really just depends on what that individual wants to do or what their intentions are.
This type of malware pops on your computer saying you need to pay money in order to fix an imaginary error. Scareware will make up any number of very scary sounding reasons as to why you have to pay or call a number. Some scareware will claim your hard drive is about to crash. A popular version says that the FBI will be notified of illegal activity done on the computer. Other versions state that all of your personal data is being exploited and set off overseas, etc.
The list of lies is endless but the goal is to scare you while there is no actual threat being present. This type of malware can be bundled with less than reputable software. While you were rushing to click ‘Next’ during the installation process you may have not noticed that you agreed to download a bundled software. That bundled software is sometimes scareware.
One of the least scary of the malware types listed. Often times its primarily just advertisements popping up on the computer. Browser hijackers are a type of adware. They may claim to be from Microsoft and contain misleading or outright lies about your computer. This type of malware could also be considered scareware. The goal is to frighten you into calling a phone number and is a thinly veiled advertisement.
This malware is made to gather your personal information and sell it to third parties. Spyware is very harmful to small businesses. The goal is to get your customer’s credit cards and personal information. Spyware attacks are carried out on both a large and small scale. The reward is greater when attacking the servers of international companies. Personal computers can still be targeted spyware. Passwords, Social Security numbers, bank accounts, etc. are all key information that can later be sold on the Dark Web.
Once a worm is on one computer in the network it’s the goal is to get on all of the computers in the network. Worms are designed to bounce between computers. They infect and control, and then move on to the next victim. Its intentions vary but worms dig into the network and that’s what classifies them as worms.
It is important to know how malware affects small businesses in 2020 and in the ever-changing tech landscape. Knowledge and experience is the only way to keep your company safe in the future. However, if computer knowledge isn’t your strong suit, it’s best to employ a managed service provider for IT. Rush Tech Support is a team of professionals who specialize in understanding the small business needs.