Flint Tech’s Cybersecurity Awareness Series: Malware Threats and Defenses
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Flint Tech’s Cybersecurity Awareness Series: Malware Threats and Defenses

[image credit: Ales Nesetril on Unsplash.com]

Credit: Hannah Wei on Unsplash.com

Thanks for joining us during Cybersecurity Awareness Month!

As you know from our last post, cybercrime is a growing trend affecting big and small businesses alike. We’ll be examining each of the most common network threats this month, including what business owners like you can do to defend yourselves.

So let’s get started with the most well-known threat:

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Malware is a standard term for software with a malicious purpose. This includes viruses, adware, worms, the Trojan horse program, and spyware. Cyber criminals install their weapon of choice on your computers and other devices, which allows them to spy on your company’s online activities, obtain passwords and files, or attack others from your system.

This is not just a threat to Windows users—Mac devices, all types of smartphones, even security cameras are all at risk. And speaking of security cameras, if your business is connected to the internet of things (Smart in-home devices, like Amazon’s Alexa, that are connected to everything from your computers to your fridge and coffee maker), those are also at risk of attack. Anything with an IP address is fair game.

In the case of ransomware, criminals can lock your out of your files until you pay a ransom. There’s lots of money to be made for cybercriminals the more devices they affect, which means this is one threat that everyone should take seriously.

So what to do?

If you’ve ever booted up a brand-new computer, chances are you’re familiar with the ubiquitous McAfee antivirus software offers that last as long as the device itself (until you get your tech-expert cousin or brother-in-law to remove them). If you’ve ever caved in and purchased that or any other antivirus protection subscription, turns out you were only handling part of the problem.

Viruses are only one type of malware, and cybercriminals are continuously developing new, cutting-edge threats that are harder to catch. Antivirus software needs to be constantly updated to detect the newest types of malware. In addition, the best way to ensure you never lose anything to a malware attack is to back up everything either on Cloud-based services or on offline external hard drives.

Additionally, there is another way to protect yourself: Managed Security Services (MSS).

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Simply put, MSS is what happens when a trusted tech partner (the Managed Service Provider, or MSP) handles cybersecurity for an organization, be it big or small. Their services monitor the organization’s devices for signs of potentially threatening activity, but they’re able to filter out false positives and only deal with real issues. This saves the organization time and effort in reviewing potential threats, which allows them to spend more time focusing on their mission.

MSP’s often create and implement a high level IT strategy, backup the organization’s data, update their systems, fix any technical issues, and arrange security controls. Far beyond trusting in a few antivirus programs, they provide many layers of security to their clients.

“Why does this matter to a small business?” you may wonder. “It sounds like pointless expense. After all, McAfee’s not that bad.”

And we get it–time is money, and small business owners rarely have enough of either.

But why worry about cybersecurity all on your own when investing in a solid tech partnership can give you peace of mind as well as more time to devote to your business? Properly handled, MSS can minimize the human errors we all make that will leave your business open to a costly attack.

To learn more, stick around for our next post highlighting another common cyber threat–security breaches.

Stay tuned!