What You and Your Employees Should Know About Malware, Spyware and Adware
This post is part of an ongoing series about how small business owners can prevent scams and fraud in the workplace. According to Wikipedia, “'Malware' is an umbrella term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software, including computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, scareware, and other malicious programs. It can take the form of executable code, scripts, active content, and other software.” Malware, in various forms, has been around a long, long time. Once one variant is defeated another one is created. Criminal elements use malware to steal information, ransom money from victims and generally create chaos. Dealing with malware requires awareness, vigilance and proper protection.
Malware can make its way onto your company’s machines from the Internet, including downloads, email attachments, clicked links in social media posts, and more. One particularly nasty piece of malware to be aware of is key logging. Key logging is malware that tracks a user’s keyboard strokes. This creates a window for criminals to see your passwords, credit card numbers and anything else a user types in. The good news is that keeping your company’s security software up to date will make it more difficult for this type of malicious code from infecting your network.
Spyware and adware is usually found while browsing the Internet and when installed it will send pop-up ads, redirect to certain websites, and track the websites you visit. To add insult to injury, Spyware can cause your computer to run slow and may also leave you open to the theft of your privacy. To avoid being infected with spyware and adware, limit cookies on your browser preferences and only accept them from sites you trust, never click on links within pop-up windows, and be extremely wary of free offers of downloadable software from untrusted sources.
ALWAYS consider the source. Make sure that if your employees are installing apps on their phones or devices that they only download from reputable sources like Google Play store or from Apple. Recently, over 20,000 retrofitted Android applications were found to be infected with bugs from one of three malware families called Shuanet, Kemoge or "ShiftyBug," and Shedun or "GhostPush." These infected applications were downloaded from third party sites. What makes these examples particularly bad, is their ability to access the root directory and install themselves as systems applications—making them virtually impossible for the end user to remove.
If you would like to find out more about our products and services, as well as recommendations for anti-virus and anti-malware protection, give us a call today!