Understanding Spyware, Malware, and Viruses

Posted by Gregory Wolf on Dec 8, 2015 9:56:16 AM

With all of the recent high profile IT security breaches in the news, the topic of data security becomes a critical issue for business of all sizes. How can you protect your assets against a cyber attack? The first line of defense all organizations should implement is a policy that requires all desktops, laptops, tablets, servers, and mobile devices have some sort of protection against malware, viruses, and spyware.

The best way to administer these solutions is to find a trusted vendor that can provide an all-in-one solution. Before you select a vendor, let's take a deeper look at what you need to know about spyware, malware, and viruses. Once you have a better idea of the impact of these cyber attacks, you'll be able to make an educated decision concerning the security policies of the devices connected to your network.

Spyware, Malware, and Viruses Impact Your Network in Different Ways

spyware malware viruses

Spyware is a type of software that doesn't do anything malicious to your system; spyware simply sends back data about the user's activity to a third party. There is a particularly intrusive breed of spyware on the market today, which beams data back to a third party in real time. This can include keystrokes and other data that you may not want transmitted over to another party.

Malware is typically delivered through malicious scripts hosted on websites. These scripts use security holes in your browser to install programs on your machine that may seem harmless at first, but then these programs will then begin downloading specialized trojans and backdoors into your system which provide an attacker with an opening into your system. Websites have been known to unknowingly serve advertisements to their visitors that contain links to malware, therefore it isn't uncommon for those browsing websites to get a malware infection from a website they thought that they could trust.

Viruses are malicious programs that look for ways to replicate on your network. Viruses often attack unpatched security holes, which allow the software to install itself silently on devices in your network. The nature of the virus can vary widely. Viruses are commonly sent in email attachments, therefore having some sort of email endpoint protection is always a consideration for small businesses.

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Getting Protection for Your Business

How do you protect your business against these types of attacks? There are plenty of antisypyare, antimalware, and antivirus solutions that provide an all inclusive approach to these security risks. Some of the most popular vendors of these products are:

  • Sophos
  • Avast
  • McAfee
  • Intel Security
  • AVG
  • Trend Micro
  • Webroot
  • Malwarebytes

These are just a few of the most notable vendors of these products on the market. Many other vendors exist and they can provide your business with a customized approach to network security.

Several reputable virus scanners (like ESET Endpoint Security) will allow you to download a free trial of their software. This will let you test the product and make sure it meets your company's needs before committing to the purchase. Other vendors also offer a business version of their software which will give your IT staff more control over which services get scanned and when they get scanned.

Alerts, Apps and More

With advanced versions of these software titles, administrators can get on demand notifications of suspicious downloads on end users machines, which can increase the response time to a potential network security incident.

Some antivirus suites even have an app that administrators can use to get real time alerts on their mobile devices. The faster your team responds to an alert, the lower the threat level will be concerning the overall security of your company's network. Using antimalware, antispyware and antivirus products in your organization will give your team a leg up against the bad guys in cyberspace.

If you have any worries about your network security, please call us at (833) 482-6435, or schedule an IT security audit so we can find the best security solutions for your business. Preparation for threats like this is a small cost compared to repairing the damage of an actual infection.

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Topics: Safety & Security, Networks