Malware, aka malicious software, is a general term for any software used to access a computer system without the owner's authorization.

A serious threat to businesses, malware empowers cyber-thieves to access confidential information like financial records, such as numbers, operational systems or employee social security numbers. Viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and spyware are all considered malware.

The most common way to deliver malware is by sending phishing emails, which attempt to trick their recipients into clicking links or downloading a file. The malware-infected material can then access the business’ systems.

How Does Malware Work?

As one of the most frequent vehicles for online information theft, malware programs are often sophisticated and difficult to detect as they gather sensitive information and disrupt operations.

The malware enters a business by entering through a weakness in a data protection system of a computer or mobile device. Then, it infects the entire system with information-capturing techniques such as key logging, which literally tracks the keys struck on a keyboard. After sensitive information is gathered, the information is typically sold.

Though malware production is on the rise, you can help protect your business; here are steps we recommend following:

How to Defend Your Business From Malware Intrusions

A combination of knowledge and regular monitoring can help you keep your business computers and mobile devices safe.

  • Understand and recognize the signs of phishing emails. Do not open attachments or links from unknown sources.
  • Install protective firewall, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software across your network and update regularly.
  • Do not use your browser’s auto-save function for passwords and log-in information.
  • Update computer and mobile device programs with the latest, most secure versions. Many updates feature new security measures, and are therefore less likely to be vulnerable to malware.

Disclosures

The information and recommendations contained here have been compiled from sources believed to be reliable and represent the best current opinion on the subject. No warranty, express or implied by KeyBank, is made as to the absolute correctness or sufficiency of the information contained. This is meant as general information only; particular situations may require additional actions.

This document is designed to provide general information only and is not comprehensive nor is it legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. KeyBank does not make any warranties regarding the results obtained from the use of this information.