4 Expert Tips to Protect Businesses From Malware Attacks

how to protect your business from malware attacks cyber risks

Did you know cybercrime is surging at an unprecedented 600%? 

Phishing emails, malware attacks, remote hacking, data breaches, ransomware, and network vulnerabilities are just a few tricks of the hacker's trade. 

Cybercriminals mask their illegal activities behind seemingly harmless apps, games, and official-looking email addresses. Hackers can be even "spoof" real email address to look legitimate to unsuspecting users. 

Why do cybercriminals keep getting away with these crimes? 

Despite laws governing cybercrime, experienced hackers work anonymously through VPNs and anonymous proxy servers. Cybercriminals routinely use TOR browsers to commit cyber-attacks through the dark web, as well. 

Information from data breaches are also found on the dark web; this was the case with the famous Equifax data breach. Cybercriminals obtained stolen data to send threatening emails to customers, demanding bitcoin. 

More than 90% of all cybercrimes occur through email, but cybercriminals also hack into retail POS systems and company networks. Hackers can hold entire computer systems hostage until bitcoin ransoms are paid in full. 

Law enforcement can catch and prosecute hackers, but it's up to you to prevent hacks from the start. 

Here are four ways to safeguard your company from malware attacks. 

1. Watch for Social Media Red Flags 

Social media is frequently overlooked in cyberattack prevention, even though it's a breeding ground for cybercrime. 

Like email, cybercriminals send malicious links through direct messaging. They impersonate professionals, charities, celebrities, military members, and "everyday people." Hackers use phishing DMs to steal passwords, email contacts, credit card numbers, and more sensitive information. 

Social networking sites have a few safeguards in place. For example, users can immediately report a post or DM for spam or phishing. You can also block users from sending messages; however, you can't stop bad actors from creating new accounts and targeting your staff online. 

Phishing DMs are pretty obvious, so they're easy to spot, but most hackers aren't that obvious. Some hackers pose as colleagues or industry insiders to pry propriety company information from your employees' hands. 

Anything is possible on social media, and that's why you need an official social media use policy. 

2. How to Draft a Social Media Use Policy 

Social media policies are tricky because you can't control what your employees' do on social media when they're not at work. 

At the workplace, you can prohibit social media use on company time. IT managers can restrict social media site access on the company's internet network; however, these actions can't stop an employee from accessing Facebook on their phone's data plan. 

Companies can terminate employees for reckless and controversial behavior on social media; make this expectation clear in your employee handbook and use policy. If employees have social media accounts, they should state "views are my own, not of my employer's" in their bios. 

Employees should never divulge company passwords, propriety information, intellectual property, and colleagues' private information on social media. You should also include a clause prohibiting employees from criticizing the company online. 

3. Create an Email Use Policy 

Like social media, your company also needs a strict technology use policy. 

Start with a robust email use policy; remember, most malware attacks begin with email. All employees should understand the dangers of clicking on suspicious links. 

Employee use is just one part of an overall email security strategy. You also need a secure email provider and an experienced IT team. 

Fortunately, most trusted email clients, like Gmail and Outlook, send most suspicious emails to spam; however, a few still slip through the cracks. 

There are a few ways to bypass spam filters. 

One method is the "mailer-daemon delivery failure" attack. If you've ever sent an email to a nonexistent or misspelled email address, you're familiar with this message. 

Hackers generate contact forms to send malicious links to potential victims. They input the victim's email address in the subject header and type in a nonexistent email in the "to" field. This action sends a mailer-daemon delivery failure message, accompanied by a phishing link. Usually, the phishing link is an "unsubscribe" link designed to trick the victim. 

There are several things your IT department can do to reduce email malware attacks. 

For starters, your team can make your email system company-only; any emails without the company's domain will go directly to spam. You can also block certain email domains and disable links altogether. 

After an employee resigns, delete their email address entirely. If a hacker or spammer gets a hold of an old email address, they can wreak havoc on your company. 

4. Create a Technology Use Policy 

Just like social media and email, your company needs a strict technology use policy. 

Start with the basics, like password management, prohibiting unauthorized use, and safe technology disposal. 

Create a standard for secure passwords, and install a trusted password management tool to save, manage, and authenticate passwords across devices. 

Experienced hackers can crack the strongest passwords. For added security, install fingerprint scanners, facial recognition technology, and two-factor mobile authentication. 

Secure your company's internet network. Use an encrypted, password-protected network. You could even limit network use to authorized users. 

Enterprise mobility strategies are another cybersecurity concern. Mobility strategies connect colleagues and clients worldwide; however, they're vulnerable to attack without robust disposal policies. 

After an employee leaves the organization, all their company-issued devices should be destroyed. Despite best efforts to reuse technology safely, hackers may have already compromised the devices. 

Employees should only use company-issued devices to conduct business. IT departments can restrict email use to company-only devices and networks, preventing employees from logging into their work email from home. 

IT departments are also responsible for selecting, configuring, distributing, servicing, and disposing of company devices. If you don't have an on-site IT team, any expert can explain some of the cybersecurity advantages of managed IT, like secure system migration and data leak protection. 

Stop Malware Attacks In their Tracks 

Don't fall victim to the latest cyber threats and malware attacks. Build a strong defense today against the world's sneakiest hackers and malware attackers. 

Cybersecurity is fundamental to business success. Follow our blog to discover the latest trends in tech, security, software, and much more.

Official Bootstrap Business Blog Newest Posts From Mike Schiemer Partners And News Outlets