The Most Common SMB Cybersecurity Threats

The-Most-Common-SMB-Cybersecurity-Threats-And-How-to-Protect-Your-Business-banner-image

The Most Common SMB Cybersecurity Threats And How to Protect Your Business

Even though cyberattacks on small and medium-sized enterprises don’t always make news, they pose a real threat to many professionals’ lives, their jobs, and the clients they represent. Because small and medium-sized businesses may lack the backup and mitigation capabilities of some of the more prominent players, SMB cyberattacks frequently impact them.

A new report from the National Small Business Association (NSBA) finds that small businesses are the most likely to be targeted by cybercriminals. The study, which was conducted in partnership with Norton by Symantec, found that small businesses make up 99% of all companies and are responsible for nearly half of all jobs in the United States.

 

Common SMB Cybersecurity Threats and Their Prevention

The research revealed that the most common SMB cybersecurity threats include social engineering, physical access to networks and data, malware (DDOS), phishing, ransomware, etc. Let’s discuss this in detail!

 

DDOS

A distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack overwhelms your network’s capacity. The United States targeted about 35% of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in 2021. With slightly under 20% of attacks, the United Kingdom came in second and China third. The most common target is the computer and internet sector.

Using numerous compromised computer systems as sources of attack traffic, DDoS attacks are practical. Computers and other networked resources, like IoT devices, can be exploited by machines.

When viewed from a distance, a DDoS assault resembles unexpected traffic congestion that blocks the roadway and keeps ordinary traffic from reaching its destination.

How to Prevent DDOS

It is not enough to choose a good hosting provider; you also need to ensure that your website is configured correctly so that it will not be susceptible to a DDoS attack. You should use an effective Content Delivery Network (CDN) if possible because CDNs can help reduce the load on servers operated by your website and thus reduce the stress placed on them during an attack.

 

Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks can also come through social engineering because they use spam messages that look authentic but contain links or attachments that look like something else. Financial institutions targeted 23.6% of all phishing attacks during the first quarter of 2022.

These attacks can be hazardous for small businesses because their employees may not know how to recognize fake emails from their bosses or co-workers.

How to Prevent Phishing Attacks?

The simplest way to protect yourself from phishing attacks is to educate your people on how to respond if they encounter one. Here are some tips:

  • Don’t click on links in emails that aren’t from someone you know.
  • Never enter personal information into forms in emails
  • Don’t open attachments unless they come from someone you know and trust.

Malware

Malware is malicious software that can infiltrate a network, damage files, steal sensitive information, and encrypt data. It can spread through email attachments or links in social media posts. The professional sector was the first worldwide industry affected by malware assaults between November 2020 and October 2021. There were 1,234 malware incidences in the industry throughout the measurement period. With 775 such events, the information sector was in second place.

How to Prevent Malware?

  • The good news is that there are several ways to protect yourself against malware attacks.
  • Use antivirus software
  • Keep your operating system up-to-date
  • Use antivirus software with real-time protection
  • Perform regular backups

 

Ransomware

In ransomware, data on a victim’s computer or mobile device is encrypted, and the victim is demanded to pay to have it decrypted. Ransomware affected 68.5% of businesses in 2021. This was the highest figure reported thus far and increased from the prior three years. Each year, more than half of all survey respondents said their employer had fallen victim to ransomware.

To release the data, cybercriminals demand ransom money from their victims. A vigilant eye and security software are advised to guard against ransomware infection. Following an illness, malware victims have three options: either they can pay the ransom, attempt to delete the software, or restart the device. Extortion Trojans use the Remote Desktop Protocol, phishing emails, and software flaws as attack vectors.

How to Prevent Ransomware?

A ransomware infection can’t be removed by turning off one computer and switching to another due to encryption. Getting your data back requires either recovering from a backup or paying the attackers. A malware infection can take anywhere from days (if it’s relatively simple) to weeks (if it’s more complicated).

 

Viruses

A security breach or loophole allows viruses to enter the equipment. Viruses come in various forms and are designed to damage your electronics. Computer viruses can impede computer performance, destroy or eliminate files, and impair programs. A virus can be acquired in several ways, including file sharing, corrupt emails, visiting malicious websites, and downloading destructive software. An increase in pop-up windows, unauthorized password changes to your account, destroyed files, and a slowdown in your network speed indicates that you have a virus on your computer.

How to Prevent Common Viruses?

There are many ways to protect from viruses attacks, but here are some of the most important ones:

  • Don’t open attachments from unknown sources.
  • Use antivirus software regularly. Antivirus software protects computers from viruses.

The Most Common SMB Cybersecurity Threats And How to Protect Your Business middleSQL injection

Relational databases can be accessed using the standard language known as SQL or Structured Query Language. Databases are used to store user information like usernames and passwords in apps and other forms of programming. Additionally, databases are frequently the most efficient and safe way to store various types of data, such as private bank account information and public blog postings and comments.

SQL queries frequently employ parameters to send data from users into a secure database or the other way around. Attackers can leverage the points where your app talks with a database using a SQL argument to access private data and other secured locations if the values in those user-supplied SQL arguments aren’t protected by sanitizing or prepared statements.

How to Prevent SQL Injection?

To prevent SQL injections, Use parameterized queries. Parameterized queries allow you to specify what parameters will be used in the question and what values will be permitted for each parameter. This prevents hackers from entering malicious data into your application.

 

Conclusion

Unfortunately, you can’t avoid cyber threats. But you can protect your business from them by investing in cybersecurity solutions.

Even though small businesses don’t have the same resources as larger enterprises, they can still protect themselves from cyber threats. You can start with basic security measures, such as installing antivirus software, updating your computer’s operating system, and using strong passwords. Additionally, you should consider investing in a cybersecurity solution.

Choosing the right cybersecurity service provider is just as important as the other steps your company takes to protect its data.

Unfortunately, many small businesses don’t have the resources to hire a full-time staff to manage their cybersecurity. That’s where a managed service provider like Protected Harbor comes in. Protected Harbor protects your data against cyber threats, including malware, ransomware, and data leaks. In addition, you have a team of experts at your side.

Our main focus is on risk reduction and breach prevention, so you can expect a lot of attention to detail regarding accounting monitoring and protection against malware, viruses, phishing scams, and other threats. The service also strongly focuses on data privacy, a highly sought-after feature among customers who work with sensitive data.

Get a free cybersecurity assessment, network penetration testing and secure your business today. Contact us today.

The Complete Guide to Ransomware Protection for SMBs: Ebook Release

The Complete Guide to Ransomware Protection for SMBs: Ebook Release

Ransomware is a new kid on the cyber-security block, and it’s bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase “cybercrime.” With ransomware’s growing threat, Small and Mid-sized Businesses (SMBs) don’t have time to learn how to protect their online presence from ransomware. Now they need protection that is easily accessible and affordable.

The good news? With some preparation, SMBs can protect themselves from these cybercriminals without breaking the bank or sacrificing security effectiveness. Today we are excited to give you an exclusive sneak peek at our new eBook – Your Complete Guide to Ransomware Protection for SMBs. Download it for free to read in detail.

 

What is Ransomware, and Why Should SMBs Care?

Ransomware is malicious software designed to block access to computer systems or data by blocking inaccessibility by the owner, operator, or other authorized personnel. A ransomware attack may happen when you least expect it, and it has become increasingly common among businesses of all sizes.

It can infiltrate your business computer systems through unsecured networks, emails, social media, and even your employees’ infected devices. Once inside a computer system, it can be almost impossible to remove, and most importantly, it can be extremely costly to get rid of.

Ransomware can pose a severe threat to SMBs. Nearly half of SMB cyber attacks are due to ransomware, making it the number one threat.

 

Don’t Be Scared; Be Prepared!

While it’s true that the best defense against a ransomware attack is not to get infected in the first place, that’s easier said than done.

The best way to prevent a ransomware attack is to:

  • regularly back up your data
  • keep your systems fully patched and updated with the latest security patches and software updates
  • use antivirus software with behavioral analysis and real-time scanning enabled
  • use an internet firewall that blocks malicious URLs
  • use strong and unique passwords for all accounts
  • avoid clicking on suspicious links
  • train your employees to avoid opening attachments from unknown senders
  • have a plan of action in place in case a malware attack hits you

Complete-Guide-to-Ransomware-Protection-for-SMBs-middle-imageHow can an SMB detect a potential ransomware attack?

If you’re unsure if you have been infected with ransomware, you can check your system for indicators of a ransomware attack. Look out for strange network activity, your internet connection dropping out, your systems slowing down, or your employees receiving pop-up messages on their computer screens. Should SMBs pay the ransom if they get hit with a ransomware attack? There is no easy answer to this question. Every situation is different, and it is best to consult your company’s IT department to determine the best action.

 

The Complete Guide to Ransomware Protection for SMBs: Sneak Peak

The dangers of ransomware are real. But they don’t have to spell disaster for your SMB. The key to protecting yourself is to have a proper backup strategy, keep your systems updated with the latest security patches and software updates, and use an internet firewall that blocks malicious URLs. Don’t let ransomware take control of your company. Be prepared for these malicious threats with the Complete Guide to Ransomware Protection for SMBs.

This eBook is the ultimate guide to defending against ransomware threats and protecting your SMB from potential ransomware attacks. We’ll show you how to keep your employees educated and informed on how to avoid ransomware attacks, how to avoid becoming an easy target, and what to do if they accidentally become infected.

We’ll also show you how to protect your computer systems and data with the best anti-ransomware solutions. We’ve compiled the best ransomware protection software, tips and tricks, and expert advice to help you withstand these malicious threats and keep your SMB safe from ransomware.

Download the free ebook today, and keep reading our other resources to stay safe. Contact us today to get a free cybersecurity audit.

 

How Social Media Angler Phishing Attacks Target Businesses

How-Social-Media-Angler-Phishing-Attacks-Target-Businesses-banner-image

How Social Media Angler Phishing Attacks Target Businesses

Cybercriminals develop new methods every day for committing online fraud. This also applies to Angler Phishing, a recent type of cybercrime. This threat targets its victims via social media. The criminal gathers private information by posting false messages on a bogus social network account.

Social media is an effective tool for phishing attacks. The key to social media phishing is using personal information, such as a username and password, to trick users into revealing sensitive information about themselves. Most attacks are carried out via fake email messages, but there has also been an increase in phishing websites and malicious links.

In this blog, we’ll explain how Angler Phishing operates, how to spot it, and how to safeguard yourself against the potential loss of your data and possibly even your money.

 

What is Angler Phishing?

Angler phishing is a form of email fraud that uses fake websites to trick you into clicking on a link. This scam aims to steal your login credentials and use them to gain access to your bank account or other personal information.

The act of pretending to be a customer care account on social media to contact an irate customer is known as angler phishing. In these attacks, victims were lured into providing access to their personal information or account credentials in almost 55% of cases last year that targeted clients of financial institutions.

These scams are often spread by emails that appear to be from banks, authorities, or other reliable companies. The emails contain links or embedded images that can direct you to fake websites that appear legitimate. Once there, you’ll be asked to enter your account information — including login credentials for your bank accounts and email addresses for various social media platforms.

The goal is to steal your login credentials and use them to gain access to your bank account or other personal information.

 

How do Angler Phishing Attacks work?

Angler phishing attacks are simple but effective because they exploit a vulnerability in business-related social media accounts. In most cases, the attacker will create a web page with an identical URL address as the legitimate page they are trying to access.

When a BEC attack targets a business through social media, companies must take precautions against these cyberattacks.

 

How-Social-Media-Angler-Phishing-Attacks-Target-Businesses-middle-imageImpact Of Angler Phishing Attacks on Business

If you run a company or have a presence on social media, you should be aware of the impact of an angler phishing attack on your brand’s reputation:

 

1.   Business Disruption

A business may suffer a substantial loss due to a cyberattack, mainly if malware infestation is involved. A complete reversal of operations may be necessary to address the hack. The virus may require the company to operate on a skeleton crew or suspend operation altogether until the malware has been removed.

An interruption of business services can cause significant economic disruptions if the economy is already fragile. A cyberattack could also increase crime rates, making the situation worse.

Business disruption can result from both natural disasters and manufactured events like cyberattacks. The latter category includes everything from information theft to destructive viruses that target specific industries or sectors of society.

 

2.   Revenue Loss

Loss of revenue can have a huge impact, especially for businesses that rely on the internet and e-commerce. The costs of fraud, cyber security breaches, and other types of attacks can be very high, so it is essential to prevent them from happening in the first place.

The first step is creating an active cyber security policy that clearly outlines what the organization expects from its employees, what it will do if a breach happens and how it will respond to such an event.

Secondly, training employees about the importance of validating incoming data before acting on it is essential. Employees should also be made aware that no information should be shared with anyone outside their team without prior authorization.

 

3.   Intellectual Property Loss

Even if businesses are not protected under a ransomware attack, they risk losing user data, trade secrets, research, and blueprints. Regulatory companies, tech companies, pharmaceutical and defense providers are often hit the hardest. A company losing a patented invention for millions of dollars would no longer be able to afford to undertake the kinds of research and development that precede it.

Attempting to struggle directly with financial setbacks is simpler than you might think, but it’s far more challenging to do well without handling sensitive company info appropriately.

Trade Secrets Theft also has severe implications for manufacturers and suppliers who rely on customer relationship management (CRM) systems to track sales trends and contact lists. Suppose a hacker could access these systems and steal trade secret information such as product formulas or pricing strategies. In that case, this could seriously impair their ability to compete against other companies that have not been victimized by cybercrime.

 

4.   Reputation Effect

While the damage to reputation is the most significant consequence of a data breach, it’s not the only one. The costs involved in mitigating a breach can be substantial.

Although many companies have experienced data breaches, few have suffered the consequences. However, even though there are many benefits to having your own data breach preparedness plans, you still need to consider some risks before implementing one.

 

Conclusion

While many types of attacks from botnets or DDoS attacks use malvertising to gain access to sensitive business data, Angler phishing can potentially allow for the same. As a result, businesses need to be aware that such attacks exist and how they work to prevent them from occurring in the first place.

Another tip is to be wary of links in emails. Most email links don’t go anywhere and are just there for decoration.

Many companies are likely unaware of such attacks against their networks, trying to mitigate them once they occur. The best way to avoid these attacks is to be skeptical of any links or offers you see on social media. Protected Harbor is your partner in safeguarding your business against cyber threats. With our risk-based approach to security and our experience with thousands of customers, we can create a solution that works for you. Our team of experts will assess your organization’s security posture and recommend how to improve it. We will also develop a detailed action plan to help you stay secure from phishing emails, ransomware, and threat detection and response.

We offer a free cybersecurity audit to all businesses, regardless of size or industry. Contact one of our cybersecurity experts today.

Top 10 Scariest Types of Malware

10-Scariest-Types-of-Malware Banner

Top 10 Scariest Types of Malware

It’s a dangerous world out there, and plenty of malicious actors lurking to infect your gadgets. You may be surprised that computer viruses can attach themselves to any of your devices, not just your computer. Malware can have devastating effects and jeopardize your personal information. Fortunately, you can defend yourself against various malware in the future, but that’s another story.

This Halloween, we bring you the top 10 scariest types of malware. Also, keep up with our other resources published weekly in Cybersecurity Awareness Month to keep you safe.

 

What is Malware?

Malware is malicious software that a threat actor uses to wreak havoc on a target company or individual. Malware is typically discovered online, including emails, false links, advertising, hidden text, and websites you (or your employees) may visit. Malware’s ultimate objective is to damage or exploit systems and networks, frequently to steal data or money.

One employee making a mistaken click is all it takes for the malware to install itself and start running its program.

Malware attacks are increasing, particularly in the wake of the epidemic. Attacks now total an astonishing 10.4 million every year, on average. Threat vectors and attack patterns are also evolving. Ransomware gangs and malware-as-a-service are more prevalent now than before the epidemic, and supply chain and ransomware attacks are also on the rise.

It’s crucial to remember that many malware attacks start as phishing or social engineering scams. Although there are technologies that people and organizations can and ought to use to stop malware attempts, user training is crucial because it protects them from social engineering.

 

List of Top 10 Scariest Types

10-Scariest-Types-of-Malware Middle

of Malware

  1. Ransomware- It is inarguably the most dangerous type of malware. As the name suggests, this malware is set up on a computer to prevent user access. A ransom is frequently demanded to restore control.
  2. Botnets- Botnets infect a network of computers and are typically disguised to allow third parties to operate them. Fraudsters frequently utilize them to engage in fraudulent behavior.
  3. DDOS- Also known as Distribute Denial of service. This is a deadly attack that launches from several computers, which are already infected, and floods web servers with requests until they break and users cannot access the service.
  4. APT (Advanced Persistent Threat)- This sophisticated malware will breach the system security to keep an eye on it and continuously steal data from a machine.
  5. Exploits- This malware will try to access and take control of particular activities without the user’s awareness by taking advantage of any system flaws.
  6. Backdoors- You feel helpless due to the intrusive infection controlling the system through the back door.
  7. Keyloggers- The goal of this spyware, as its name implies, is to read your keystrokes (everything you enter), exposing your important information.
  8. Phishing- This is a form of online crime. Consider it malware that sought out your personal information. The bait is frequently presented as an email to fool you into thinking it is coming from a reliable company. When you let your guard down, you inadvertently give fraudsters access to your personal information. If fraudsters manage to access your bank accounts, this might have disastrous consequences.
  9. Worms- Not so much the adorable franchise characters. They set up shop on a gadget and then spread themselves over more devices by communicating through those devices.
  10. Trojans- It seeks to blend in with other apps and open a backdoor. The name is a play on the trojan horse of old. This gives access to a vast array of harmful software that is undetectable.

 

Conclusion

There are many more malicious programs out there that you should be cautious about; these are just 10 of the worst that might infect your computer. Be sure to take precautions by installing a solid defensive system, never disclosing your personal information, and never downloading anything you do not recognize to stop your devices from coming into contact with any of these.

Malware constantly threatens your business, systems, and, most importantly, assets, regardless of its form. We continuously advise investing in your security environment and taking a proactive approach, whether through a proactive security operations partner like Protected Harbor or a proactive solution like Protected Harbor Malware Security with Threat Detection and Response.

With the help of our 2022 Cybersecurity Awareness resources, learn more about malware and other new risks.

Discover how security operations can defend your business against malware threats. Get in touch with our specialists today for a free consultation and cybersecurity assessment.

Hackers Stole My Data: Should I Pay the Ransom?

Hackers-stole-my-data-should-i-pay-the-ransom banner

Hackers Stole My Data: Should I Pay the Ransom?

Ransomware attacks are surging around the globe at a mind-blowing pace. In the 2022 Cyber Threat Report by SonicWall, ransomware attacks on governmental institutions worldwide increased by about 1885% in 2021. The healthcare industry alone witnessed an increase of 755%. According to a report by Cybersecurity Ventures, the total loss incurred globally was around $20 billion in 2021. According to the same report, the loss is now projected to cross $265 billion by the year 2031.

These statistics show that ransomware attacks are imminent for most companies regardless of size; it’s just a matter of when. So, in this surge, everyone wants to know if they need to pay for ransomware or not.

 

Do We Need to Pay for Ransomware Attacks?

The facts legitimize the debate over whether the ransom should be paid once the illegal encryption has compromised your important data. The answer is not an easy one; it is a double-edged sword. The theory and practice differ in answer to the question of payment of the ransom.

You need to know both sides of the coin before you conclude.

 

Reasons in Favor of Paying the Ransom

Most of the time, the companies who fall victim to a ransomware attack choose to pay the ransom. One might feel that they should have made a better choice, but given their considerations, it is never clearly an irrational decision. The affected organizations opt to pay the ransom because of one of the following reasons:

  • To Reduce the Recovery Time

The companies have to consider the time. The time required to recover the encrypted data may exceed the limit which companies can withstand. The service delivery firms may find themselves in an extraordinary situation in this regard. They may lose revenue and clients swiftly, and prolonging the recovery may be unbearable in terms of the cost incurred. Consequently, the companies decide to pay the ransom in hopes of recovering the data quickly and easily.

  • To Save Their Reputation

The companies fear that hackers may publicize the news of their victimhood if they don’t act fast and pay the ransom. The name and reputation built over decades may go down the drain with a click. Resultantly, the companies choose to pay the amount instead of jeopardizing their reputation.

  • To Avoid Huge Recovery Costs

The companies are business enterprises, after all. Rational actors make cost and benefit analyses before making crucial decisions. If they feel that the cost to recover the data might not be rationalized in terms of the ransom amount, they decide to pay the ransom instead.

  • To Protect the Information of the Clients and the Employees

Perhaps the most valuable asset at stake is the personal information of the clients and the employees. The companies can hardly accept the exposure of sensitive information, which may risk the people associated with them. Naturally, they choose to go ahead with the ransom payment.

 

Reasons Against Paying the Ransom Hackers-stole-my-data-should-i-pay-the-ransom middle

The reasons in favor of paying the ransom may be theoretically valid, but the experience, in such cases, suggests otherwise. Most security experts agree that ransom should not be spent. They have the following reasons to support their view:

  • No Guarantee of Data Recovery

As a company, you might decide to pay a ransom to recover sensitive information, but you might never get it back. Either you might not receive the decryption key, or you might not be able to locate the data where it was before the attack. Hence, you might risk dooming yourself with a payment that might not pay you back.

  • Risk of Future Attacks

This is a natural occurrence. Once you put out your weakness by paying the ransom and the word gets out, you will become a potential prey to more attacks in the future. The hackers will use the money to come back even more powerfully. Furthermore, the hackers watching the whole episode will attack you hoping to get paid as you paid earlier. You don’t wish to see yourself in such a situation as a company or an individual.

  • Blackmailing Without Any Bounds

The hackers might ask for more payments. They might steal your data, meaning getting a decryption key might not get you over the hook. The hackers might blackmail you into paying them so they don’t publicize your data. Hence, you might be in a vicious circle of repetitive payments to save your life as a company, but such payments might destroy you rather than save you.

  • Legal Troubles

There is consensus among security experts that the proceeds of cybercrimes are used to commit even more significant crimes. Around 79% of the experts in a 2021 survey by Talion advocated criminalizing ransom payments. The money which you pay might be used used to commit terrorism. National security agencies will advise you against paying the ransom to prevent the funds from landing in the hands of those who commit heinous crimes like terrorism, drug trafficking, human trafficking, etc. Your payment might be seen as aiding the criminals in their destructive motives by the law of your land or the country to which the hackers belong. You might end up paying for lawsuits, then.

 

Consider all the Possible Options before Paying

Let the law and the empirical evidence guide your decision. You may do the following things:

  • Paying Ransom Must Not be Prioritized

It would help if you went by the opinion of the experts. According to the empirical data, paying the hackers won’t help you in the future. Your payment will only encourage the hackers and make ransomware attacks a lucrative option for them. Don’t jeopardize your money and prestige by bowing down to the hackers, not as the first option, at least.

  • Bring Law Enforcement Agencies into Play.

Get the law on your side. You might be able to guide the law enforcement agencies(LEAs) in their quest to find more information about the hackers. Possibly, the LEAs might identify the hackers, or they might be able to prevent other companies and individuals from victimhood.

  • Look for a Decryption Key

You might be lucky enough to find a decryption key online. For this, you will have to know the attack variant first. Many online websites might help you with the recognition of the attack variant.

  • Pay Ransom as a Last Resort

After looking at all the facts and legal liabilities involved, if you believe you have no other option but to pay the ransom, negotiate wisely before paying. Tell the hackers to delete the data, if possible; otherwise, they might use it to blackmail you again.

 

Conclusion

Ransomware assaults are impossible to avoid altogether. You can best prepare for an attack and have measures in place to respond quickly. To put it in a nutshell, don’t pay unless you have to. It all boils down to proactive measures to avoid an attack in the first place rather than scrambling for help when little can be done.

Additionally, it’s essential to strengthen backups and test restores for all critical business operations. Assuming the backups are reliable and that recovering from a disaster would never be more expensive than paying a ransom for an uncertain result.

“In most cases, organizations only start testing restore after being hit by ransomware,” says Protected Harbor CEO Richard Luna.

Additionally, guarantee that executives are fully informed about the matter and participate in decision-making. The more they are aware of the hazards, the more equipped they will be to decide and defend it in court.

In conclusion, paying a ransom demand needs to be carefully considered because it is typically not wise to do so. As always, it is preferable to be proactive and invest in safeguarding your crucial data assets from cyberattacks than to be forced to take protective measures.

Protected Harbor offers single sign-on (SSO), multifactor authentication (MFA), automated password resets, isolated backups, easy remote management, and much more at an affordable price to protect your systems and data from attack by cybercriminals using a stolen or phished password. And for more than 20 years, we have been defending our clients.  Additionally, we provide both trainers and trainees with an easygoing training experience.

To learn more about how our digital risk prevention platform can help you safeguard your company and your clients from ransomware threats, get in touch with the solution specialists at Protected Harbor right away. Visit Protected Harbor to get the necessary guidance and a ransomware audit that shields you from malicious attacks.

How do I Remove Malware

How-Do-I-Remove-Malware banner

How do I Remove Malware?

Cybercriminals always hunt for more advanced ways to attack your home network or business as the world moves toward a more connected digital life. According to an FBI report, cybercrime losses grew considerably in 2021. The losses, which primarily occurred in the United States but were reported globally, were estimated at $6.9 billion last year, up from $4.2 billion in 2020.

Malware has been around for years but has become increasingly sophisticated over time. The number of new malware detections worldwide increased to 677.66 million programs in March 2020, up from 661 million at the end of January 2020. With so many people connecting smart devices to their home networks, it’s no wonder that cybercriminals are looking for ways to exploit these devices, too.

This article will discuss detecting and removing malware from your mobile devices and personal computers. Let’s get started.

 

What is Malware?

Malware is a broad term for various malicious software (or “malicious code”) intended to damage or disable computers and computer systems. It includes computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, and other malicious programs.

It can be programmed to steal your personal information or lock up your system until you pay a ransom to unlock it. If you see pop-up ads on your screen or if your browser locks up or crashes frequently, these are signs that your computer may have been infected with malware.

Malware is often distributed via email attachments or links on websites. Often people click on the links because they are curious to see what they lead to, and before they know it, they’ve downloaded malware onto their computer.

 

Finding and Removing Malware from Your Devices

It may seem impossible to remove malware from your computer once infected. But with cautious and prompt action, eradicating a virus or malware program can be easier than you think.

 

Malware from Mobile Devices

Anyone who uses the internet frequently is sure to come across the malware. Your smartphone carries much personal information, making it a prime target for cybercriminals.

Fortunately, malware can be found and removed from your Android device.

 

Signs of malware on Android

If you’re experiencing these issues, your device may have malware.

  • Your phone is slow and unresponsive.
  • You see ads or pop-ups on your screen, even after locking your device.
  • Your battery life has decreased noticeably since you got the phone.
  • Your device has become very hot while charging or after using WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Skype for a long time (this is especially common with Android devices).
  • You see “Your device needs to be restarted” error messages on your screen more often than usual (even though no apps are running in the background).

How to Remove Malware on Android?

You can get rid of viruses and malware on Android by doing the following:

  • Reboot in safe mode. If your phone is infected with a virus, you may be able to use it usually if you reboot your phone into safe mode. This mode allows you to use your phone without any third-party apps running.
  • Uninstall all suspicious apps. If your phone has been infected with a virus, there’s a good chance that some apps on your phone are also infected. To find out which ones, tap Settings > Apps > Show All Apps > Scroll down and tap on each app one by one, looking for anything unusual (such as an app that uses too much battery or data). When you find an app that looks suspicious, uninstall it.
  • Get rid of pop-up ads. If you’re being bombarded by pop-ups while surfing the web, they could be coming from malware on your phone.
  • Clear your downloads. Make sure you check every app before you install it, and never install anything from sources other than Google Play Store (or trusted third-party stores). Also, delete any apps installed without permission — especially those with strange names or icons.
  • Install a mobile anti-malware app. Several solutions offer protection against malware for Android devices, including Avast Mobile Security and AVG AntiVirus Free. These apps scan every file stored on your device for viruses and other security threats, alerting you if anything suspicious is detected.

 

How-Do-I-Remove-Malware middle

 

Removing Malware from MAC or PC

 

Both Macs and PCs can be infected with malware. Although PCs are usually associated with this vulnerability, Macs can also be affected. It is critical to be aware of the threat of malware regardless of the sort of equipment you have.

 

Signs of Malware on PC or MAC

Many people will be surprised when they find out they are infected with malware. You may not realize it until you notice some strange activity on your computer or mobile device. Here are some signs that could indicate an infection:

  • Your computer takes longer than usual to start up or shut down
  • Your computer runs slowly for no apparent reason
  • Strange pop-up ads appear on your screen when you’re browsing the web
  • Your computer reboots itself more frequently than usual (this happens when there are too many applications running at once)

Get Rid of Malware on Your PC

Several options are available if you’re having problems with a PC or Mac and want to remove malware. Here’s how to do this:

  • Disconnect from the Internet

If you’re using an infected computer, disconnect it from the Internet immediately. This may stop malicious programs from spreading to other devices on your network or accessing files stored in cloud services like Dropbox or iCloud.

  • Check your activity monitor for malicious applications

Your activity monitor will show all currently running applications and processes on your system. If you see any suspicious-looking methods or applications, immediately shut down those programs and restart your computer so no more files are added to those processes.

  • Use Antivirus Software

Install an antivirus program on your computer before downloading anything from the Internet. Then keep it updated regularly with automatic updates. Many antivirus programs include anti-malware features that scan files as they’re downloaded to catch threats before infecting your system. You should also check newly downloaded files with an antivirus program before opening them to know if they contain malware or run them on your computer.

  • Run a Malware Scanner

Run a malware scanner. They are designed to search for and remove malicious software from your system. These tools are often free and can be downloaded from the Internet. You can also use a paid version of antivirus software if you already have some installed.

  • Clear your cache.

Most browsers store information about websites you visit in a temporary file called the cache. This allows them to load pages faster when you return to the site because they don’t have to download all the information again. But sometimes, this data can contain malicious code that has infected your computer and should be deleted before it causes more damage.

 

Final Words

Malware seriously threatens the information stored on personal computers and Macs. New varieties of malware are found all the time, and the lucrative nature of some viruses makes them particularly appealing to cybercriminals worldwide. Practicing good internet habits and recognizing the warning signals of malware infection is critical.

If you suspect your computer is infected, act quickly to prevent malware from spreading and protect your personal information. You can take help from the experts because malware can cause serious harm to you and your business. Protected Harbor has inbuilt malware detection in the cybersecurity strategy. We regularly update our database with new malware and other virus detection so that you stay ahead of the curve. You handle the business while we handle the security. Proactive remote monitoring is not just a term we implement. It’s an approach to detecting and removing any cyber threats before they may cause chaos.

To quickly identify and neutralize any dangers or if you want a more straightforward approach, contact us today for a free IT audit.

How Do I Know I Have Ransomware

How-do-I-Know-I-Have-Ransomware banner

How Do I Know I Have Ransomware?

Due to an influx of reports regarding malware viruses, most of us are aware of the impact these attacks can have on businesses. Nevertheless, most of us have experienced a malware attack of some kind at some point in our careers. Hopefully, the infection was only a minor inconvenience, but malware truly has the ability to jeopardize any critical data that organizations may be in charge of protecting.

-The key is to keep both you and your system safe.

The ransomware family is rapidly expanding, with 327 new families joining in 2017 and 127 in 2020.  68.5% of firms were hit by ransomware in 2021. Making this the highest figure reported in the last three years. The frequency of these cyberattacks is appalling; 2244 cases of cybercrime emerge daily, which translates into a crime approximately every thirty seconds. This activity is a highly organized operation that considers the use and importance of technology and data for companies and organizations worldwide.

Cybercriminals operate through intrusive software, and their work can be best understood by considering the methods they use to commit crimes. This requires a brief understanding of ransomware. This article will highlight the points that can help you understand ransomware and how to recognize it.

 

What is Ransomware?

How-do-I-Know-I-Have-Ransomware middle

Ransomware is a type of malware that denies access to computer files by encrypting them with the intent to extract a ransom. Ransomware is malware that blocks access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. It’s most commonly used for financial gain but can also extort people or organizations.

Ransomware attacks have become more common over the past few years. These have evolved from malicious software to more sophisticated attacks aimed at specific targets like healthcare and government organizations.

Data is virtually wealth today, and whoever controls it has leverage over other entities in today’s ultra-competitive world. Therefore, getting hands on a company’s data or their online service provider systems is equivalent to bringing it to its knees. No amount is large enough for the company to bail itself out of the situation. Therefore, it’s necessary to take the right preventive measures before an actual disaster happens.

 

Ways to Identify Ransomware

So, how do you know whether or not a ransomware attack has invaded your company’s system? Well, the answer is both simple and complicated. Most cybercriminals are quite stealthy when it comes to breaking into your system, and once they’re in, the rest of the attack is done with ease. So, where does it all start?

1. All Starts with Phishing

You might receive a seemingly normal email in which the sender poses as either a legitimate third-party company or co-worker and may attach a link that will require you to enter some private details. Once you enter your information, you have allowed illegal entry into your computer system.

2. The Emergence of Unexpected Network Scanners

The popping up of network scanning tools is another sign of a potential ransomware attack. This is how hackers hold as much information about your computer network as they can.

3. Illegitimate Intrusion Into Active Directory and Presence of Suspicious Software

Software’s are a clear-cut indication that your system has been invaded through Ransomware, as hackers predominantly use this mal-software to get hold of the Active Directories within your networks and gather information about various users.

4. A Splash Screen Might Say It All

Occasionally a splash screen may appear that blocks access to your system. This screen may also contain instructions provided by the hacker, which will tell you how to pay the ransom and get access to your data again.

5. Denial of Access to Your Data Files

In other cases, you may be unable to open your data files, indicating your data encryption. The computer might keep telling you that you do not have the required program to unlock your files, and this occurrence would be an anomaly as it was not there when you opened the same file either the other day or moments prior.

6. File Extensions Become Fishy

Your files may lack their usual file extensions like .jpeg, .exe, .pdf, etc. After the dot, it might display that it is “encrypted.” Alternatively, an extension might not be there, strengthening the possibility of a ransomware attack.

7. Your Files are Renamed

Similarly, your files may be renamed as ransomware encrypts them, throwing a major red flag on the field. Remember to check your files to see if they have been to direct your doubts about a malware attack.

8. Ransom Note Eliminates All Doubts

Eventually, you will receive a ransom note requiring you to pay the amount desired by the hacker. A most common method for you to receive this ransom note is usually through email.

9. A Dry Run of Small-Scale Test Attacks

Ransomware attacks often start with a test run that does not cause any damage to the organization yet. The attackers may want to “test” their code by installing it on a few machines without causing any damage. This allows them to see any network security that may be in place and whether or not they can bypass it. If the hackery succeeds at getting past the network security, they will launch a large-scale attack that will be far more damaging.

 

Conclusion

You are never entirely safe from ransomware when using a computer. Ransomware can cause devastating consequences to an infected system and damage your company from the inside out.

Maintaining a safe system is not straightforward, but with the proper care, it is possible. Ransomware attacks are difficult to avoid, but you can easily control them with robust security measures.

Protected Harbor has built-in detections based on industry best practices and is continuously updated to provide you with the most up-to-date protection available. With various notification options, you can be sure that the people who need to know about these events will be notified. To get the most out of these features, you might also choose to invest in monitoring services as a precaution for your company to keep track of every device on your network and collect data about its activities.

You are more likely to catch a virus within its early stages before it can infect the rest of your system and cause continuous damage. If you have a dedicated IT team on the job to help detect any potential system anomalies, you are in the right direction. Contact Protected Harbor today for a free pen-testing and IT Audit.

The Recent Medical Data Leaks

The-Recent-Medical-Data-Leaks-and-What-You-Can-Do-About-It Banner

The Recent Medical Data Leaks and What You Can Do About It

Did you know that medical data is the new gold? Unencrypted patient records are worth $300 billion, and that number will keep growing. This blog will explore the recent medical data leaks and their potential consequences. You’ll also learn how to protect your sensitive information — so you can avoid being one of the many victims of medical data breaches.

A recent study by Comparitech covered breaches. Their team of researchers analyzed data from 2009 to June 2022 to find out which US states suffer the most medical breaches and how many records have been affected each year. They also looked at breaches from January 2021 to June 2022 to find the most significant cause of these breaches and the most-affected healthcare organizations.

 

Key Findings

  • In 2017 alone, there were over 2,800 data breaches, affecting over 178 million patients in the US alone.
  • More than half of data breach victims don’t even know they’ve been affected.
  • Only 13% of healthcare providers offer free identity protection services.
  • Over 50% of data breach victims do not change their passwords after a breach.
  • 4,746 medical breaches were reported between 2009 and June 2022.
  • These breaches affected 342,017,215 user records.
  • 803 documented medical breaches made 2020 the year with the most (the second-highest was 2021 with 711).
  • With almost 112 million records affected overall, 2015 saw the most records affected.
  • Hospital networks are responsible for the most records that have been compromised in 2021 and 2022 (so far), accounting for 8.8 million records (16 percent of all records affected). Specialist clinics—clinics that specialize in a particular area of medicine—account for the most data breaches (15 percent), with 130 breached entities overall.
  • Hacking was the most frequent breach in 2021 and 2022 (so far), making up 40% of breaches (353 out of 862).

Top 5 Medical Data BreachesThe-Recent-Medical-Data-Leaks-and-What-You-Can-Do-About-It middle

Anthem  Inc. – The second-largest health insurance company in the US, was hit with a massive data breach in 2015 – one of the largest on record (78.8 Million records).

Optum360 LLC- From August 2018 to March 2019, hackers gained access to the sensitive financial and personal data of 11.5 million lab patients at the American Medical Collection Agency.

Excellus Health – This breach affected 10 million people and was discovered two months after the Anthem breach was announced.

Premera Blue Cross – This breach impacted 11 million people and was caused by malware that was used for two months. Premera Blue Cross was compelled to pay the OCR $6.85 million.

Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings- In 2019, A hacker gained access to the American Medical Collection Agency, a third party it employed for payments. Over 10.2 million people’s personal, financial, and medical information was compromised.

 

Biggest Years for Medical Data Breaches

The year with the most medical data breaches, with an overall total of 803, was 2020. A significant number of breaches were also reported in 2021 (711), closely followed by 2019 (520). This demonstrates the exponential growth in medical data breaches over the past three years.

The median number of records affected by each breach between 2009 and 2018 remained roughly 2,000 when we looked at the median number of records affected for each year. In 2019, there was a significant increase from 2018. (rising by 70 percent from 2,284 to 3,893). This persisted through 2020 (with a rise of 26% from 3,893 to 4,916) and from 2021 to 2022. (rising by 4 percent up to 5,122).

Why the increase in data breaches? There are many reasons, including the fact that the healthcare industry is growing, more people are using the Internet, and more sensitive data is being exchanged online. The healthcare industry is still struggling to adapt to the cyber threat landscape.

 

Most Common Data Breach Type

Data breaches are rising, and data loss is becoming more common. But what type of data breaches are most prevalent in the healthcare sector? Healthcare providers losing control of their data is a common occurrence nowadays.

With 288 out of 711 breaches (41 percent) in 2021 involving medical companies, hacking emerged as the most prevalent method. With 161 attacks (23% of all attacks, excluding unknowns), ransomware was the next most prevalent category. Theft of data is the third most prevalent type of data breach.

 

2022 for Medical Data Breaches

151 documented medical data breaches impacted 7,997,739 records during the first half of 2022. Even if these numbers seem low, they may increase over the next few months.  Perhaps more focused attacks are the cause of this. This is evident from the MCG Health data leak. The software provider revealed that its systems were breached through unauthorized access on June 10 this year. Nearly 800,000 records have been affected by the breach on MCG Health, and at least eight organizations have reported it thus far.

 

Conclusion

The healthcare sector is under attack, and the threat is likely to grow as time goes on. The best way to protect sensitive information is to prepare in advance. Encrypt the data before sending it over the Internet or storing it on a device. This protective measure can be applied to nearly any data type, preventing unauthorized individuals from accessing the information.

Protected Harbor helps companies prevent cyber breaches, data loss, and regulatory non-compliance by offering security solutions such as data monitoring, cloud security, and DLP. Our clients include small businesses, enterprises, healthcare, and government agencies.

Protected Harbor is one of the top cybersecurity providers trusted by thousands of businesses across the country for offering robust cybersecurity solutions. With our expert team of engineers and technicians, you can be assured complete security for your business.

Get a free cybersecurity and ransomware audit today and get cyber-secured.

What to do in a Ransomware Situation

What-to-do-in-a-Ransomware-Situation Banner

What to do in a Ransomware Situation

Imagine finishing up a critical work report when you suddenly lose access to all of your files. Alternatively, you may receive a strange error message requesting you donate Bitcoin to decrypt your computer.

Regardless of the scenario, a ransomware attack can be devastating for its victims.

Hackers are increasingly focusing on organizations to gain access to their files, passwords, sensitive data, and other information. In reality, ransomware impacted 71% of organizations targeted by attacks in 2017. In 2020, 127 new ransomware families were found, up 34% from 2019. Also, in 2020, there were 304 million ransomware assaults worldwide. Organizations’ yearly ransomware attacks have risen since 2018, culminating at 68.5% in 2021.

So, what is ransomware, exactly? In its most basic form, ransomware is malware that infects a computer or a device and encrypts the files, rendering them worthless. The hacker holds the data captive until the ransom money is paid for the encryption key to unlock files and data. Here’s what to do in a ransomware situation and how you may try to avoid it.

 

Who is a Target for Ransomware?

Ransomware can be targeted at anyone. Here’s an overview of who ransomware attacks most:

1.    Home Users

Home users are more likely than businesses to be targeted because they tend to be more vulnerable. They’re less likely to have backup systems and may be more willing to pay if they think they can live without their data.

2.    Businesses and Organizations

Businesses are targeted because they often have large amounts of valuable data on their systems that criminals want access to. If criminals can get access, they can steal information or hold it hostage as leverage against the business owner.

 

Steps to Take After Getting Hit by Ransomware

If you’re hit by ransomware, don’t panic! There are steps you can take right away to minimize the damage.

1.    Stay Calm and Collected

The first thing you should do is not panic. Ransomware is designed to make you panic and pay the ransom as quickly as possible. If you’ve been hit by ransomware and don’t know what to do next, take a deep breath and think about your options. You’ll have more time than you think — even though the malware locks down your computer, it doesn’t delete any files immediately or completely lock them up forever.

2.    Check Your Security

If the ransomware encrypts your computer or network, you should immediately check your security. If you’re running a version of Windows, that’s no longer supported by Microsoft. The ransomware may infect your computer through an exploit. If you’re using unsupported software or operating systems, update them as soon as possible. Also, ensure that all your software is up-to-date with the latest security patches and updates.

3.    Cut the Internet Supply

Ransomware infections often encrypt all the data on an infected device. This can include both your files as well as your operating system files. You must disconnect your device from any networks or other devices before attempting to remove the infection. Ransomware often uses hidden network shares to spread and encrypt more computers. Any connection to these shares could spread more infections across your network.

4.    Write Down Key Details

If your computer has been encrypted by ransomware, write down any information that may be required later. This includes serial numbers for devices and software installed on your computer, license keys for programs such as Microsoft Office, financial information stored in online banking applications, and even usernames and passwords for websites accessed using the browser. Keep this list in a safe place separate from where it was stored initially so that it doesn’t get lost during cleanup efforts or damaged by future malware attacks against your network or computer system.

5.    Take a Screenshot of the Ransomware Message

If you see a message on your screen saying that your files are encrypted and you need to pay a ransom to decrypt them, take a screenshot of the entire screen. This will help law enforcement identify the strain or variant and track its creator(s).

6.    Notify Your IT Department

After taking a photo, you should notify your IT department immediately so they can remove the malware and protect your computer from future attacks. If you don’t have an IT department and are unsure how to remove ransomware manually, it’s best to leave this to professionals who have experience dealing with these types of threats.

7.    Look for Decryption Tools

Ransomware attacks often include a “decryptor” or key that can be used to unlock files after payment has been made. If there’s no decryptor included in the package, victims can often find them on forums or other sites dedicated to helping victims of ransomware attacks.

8.    Report the Ransomware

You should report the ransomware attack to law enforcement but do so carefully. Don’t share your encrypted files with anyone, even law enforcement officials. The FBI has warned that it doesn’t have the tools to decrypt those files and could accidentally expose them to hackers.

 

What Not to Do After Getting Hit by Ransomware

Here are some crucial things that you must ignore after getting hit by ransomware.

●      Don’t Be Embarrassed to Talk About the Ransomware

If you suspect your system has been infected with malware or ransomware, don’t be embarrassed or afraid to tell someone. The idea behind ransomware is that it will force victims to pay up to get their data back — and paying up is what they want. If you don’t pay, they won’t get paid and won’t give you your data. So why would anyone want to keep quiet about being hit with this type of malware?

●      Don’t Be Quick to Pay the Ransom

If you decide to pay the ransom, there is no guarantee that the criminals will release your files as promised. Paying a ransom can put you at greater risk of permanently losing all of your data. Ransomware criminals often keep files encrypted even after receiving payment and sometimes even send victims bogus information about how much was paid — or tell them their computers are still infected with malware when they aren’t.

●      Don’t Use the Infected Computer Again

This could cause additional damage to your computer or allow other malware to get onto it. If you can’t afford to take this computer offline immediately, disconnect it from any network it may be connected to (and turn off wireless).

●      Don’t Try to Remove the Ransomware Yourself

Many strains are designed to block any attempts at removal, so they can continue to hold your data hostage. Instead, use an antivirus program or another malware removal tool that can disinfect affected systems automatically.

 

Final Words

Ransomware, while simple in concept, is persistent and destructive. However, you can prevent these malicious attempts from causing significant damage with due attention and excellent security hygiene.

If you are a victim of ransomware, keep in mind that you can lessen the effects if you take rapid and effective action after the assault.

Stay protected from ransomware by keeping your software up to date and installing anti-virus software, or take the help of a third-party cybersecurity provider. Stay vigilant about what you click on, and make sure you have a backup plan in case you get hit with ransomware. Get advice from experts and use top-notch solutions from Protected Harbor to reduce the risk of ransomware. With the right data protection software with us, you can set up a vault that is protected by a firewall to prevent unauthorized access; it also uses geo-location to prevent access from unauthorized locations.

Contact us today to learn more about our offerings and how they can help you stay protected from ransomware and other cyber threats.

How to Prevent Malware

How to Prevent Malware Banner

How to Prevent Malware

Whether it’s a new album from our favorite band, an application to make our browser run faster, or a new computer game we want to check out, we are in a state of constant downloading. We can leave ourselves open to cybercriminal attacks if we aren’t vigilant about what we download.

When our gear starts behaving strangely, our first thought is that it’s a virus. Though a virus is always a possibility, the problem is more frequently known as malware. The malware was the most concerning cyber threat targeting enterprises, according to a poll of global IT security decision-makers conducted in November 2020. Phishing and ransomware were tied for second place with a relative score of 3.99 on a five-point scale.

This article will discuss how to prevent malware and highlight ways how to prevent malware. Let’s get started.

The Most Common Ways You Can Get Malware

Malware is a type of software program that is designed to damage or disable computers and computer systems. It includes computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, and adware. Malware can cause a loss of productivity, revenue, and reputation for businesses. In some cases, malware can lead to data theft or identity theft.

One of the most common types of malware is a virus. A virus is a small code that attaches itself to another program or document so it can spread from one computer to another without being detected by security software. Viruses are often sent through legitimate email messages but contain malicious attachments or links to malicious websites.

Malware is a huge problem, and it cannot be easy to protect yourself. Some people think they’re safe because they don’t install software from the internet, and that’s true, but malware can still get on your computer in other ways.

The most common ways you can get malware:

  • Downloading free software (malvertising)
  • Opening an infected attachment in an email
  • Visiting a malicious website
  • Sending files to someone via email or instant messaging

Impact of Malware

Malware may also include spyware and adware programs that collect information about your online activity and display unwanted or intrusive advertisements on your screen. Some malware is designed to steal your personal information, such as credit card numbers or passwords.

Often, malware is installed without your consent when you visit an infected website or open an email attachment containing a virus. Once installed, malware can perform any number of functions, including:

  • Stealing your personal information.
  • Stealing money from your bank account.
  • Disabling essential system files so that you cannot use your computer.

Do I Need to Clean My Network or Computer for Malware?How to prevent malware middle

You can protect yourself from malware in several ways. The first is personal vigilance. You should avoid clicking on links, downloading files from unknown sources, and visiting websites with a reputation for containing malicious code. Most importantly, ensure all your software is updated, including your operating system and browser.

The second protection method uses protective tools such as firewalls and antivirus software. These tools can monitor your network traffic and detect any suspicious behavior coming from your computer or network, then block it before it has a chance to do any damage.

Steps to Protect Your Computer from Malware

So, what can you do to protect yourself against common viruses like ransomware, phishing, and cryptojacking?

A strategy is outlined below.

1.    Rely Only On Secure Networks (Encrypted)

If you’re using an unsecured Wi-Fi network, someone could easily intercept your data as it moves between your computer and your site. This includes sensitive information like passwords and credit card numbers.

2.    Employ Browser Common Sense

Browsers are one of the most common ways malware gets onto your computer. Many sites try to trick you into clicking on links or downloading files that contain malware. Be careful when browsing online, and avoid clicking on links in emails from unknown senders.

3.    Take Care of Your Personal Information

The most important thing to prevent malware from infecting your device is to keep a tight grip on your personal information. This means never sharing personal details over email or social media platforms. It would be best if you also avoided downloading apps from unverified developers and websites, as they could be hiding malicious code inside their programs.

4.    Stay Up-to-Date on the Latest Attacks

Maintain your operating system, any third-party applications installed on your computer, and any antivirus software installed on your computer to have the latest protection against new threats that may be around the corner.

5.    Use Antivirus Software

While not foolproof, antivirus software can detect and block some types of malware at entry into your device or system. But even if it does catch a virus, it won’t remove it from your computer because it doesn’t have access to all areas of the operating system where there are viruses.

6.    Don’t Click Suspicious Links or Attachments

It can be hard not to click on suspicious links or attachments in emails or text messages, especially if they appear to come from someone you know. However, if an email or text message looks strange, don’t open it! Malware can spread through email attachments and links that take you to phishing websites, where criminals try to trick users into giving up their personal information.

7.    Use Strong Passwords

Make sure you use a different password for each account — including gaming accounts. At least eight characters should be used with a combination of numbers and letters that aren’t found in the dictionary or on a keyboard. It shouldn’t be easy to guess your birthday, family member’s name, or pet’s name.

8.    Configure Regular Scans and Monitor Settings

Malware can be distributed using various methods, including email attachments, social media links, and fake websites. To stop malware from infecting your device, you need to configure it for scanning regularly. This will help identify any threats before they cause damage to your system. You should also configure your network settings to detect any changes in traffic patterns that might indicate an attack.

9.    Always Update Your Operating System

You must keep your operating system up-to-date because new updates often contain patches for existing vulnerabilities that malware developers could exploit. If you don’t update regularly, it leaves your device susceptible to attacks by cybercriminals who may use these vulnerabilities against users with outdated systems.

Final Words

Infections with malware can be fatal for businesses. Malware can seriously harm your finances and reputation by disrupting essential procedures and stealing or encrypting vital data. Use the suggestions above to safeguard you and your company against malware attacks. Additionally, make sure you regularly isolate the backup of your data so that you can restore it from a backup if your environment becomes infected with malware. You should always ensure you download software from trusted sites only.

At Protected Harbor, we are a team of cybersecurity experts who can assist your business in safeguarding critical data from cyberattacks and data breaches. We offer 24/7 monitoring, isolated backups, endpoint security, network security, and advanced threat detection to protect your organization against malware, ransomware, and other cyber threats. Our expert engineers will work with you to develop a customized network security solution that meets your organization’s needs. From top to bottom, we ensure that your network is secure and protected against the latest cyber threats.

Contact Protected Harbor today for tools and free IT consultation regarding malware prevention and detection.