Real ThreatsFormerly, IT infrastructure security measures basically boiled down to performing external backups and limiting system access to authorized users through the use of passwords. Today, we must also protect ourselves from cyber threats, and this task is complicated, since hackers are constantly developing new malware. According to recent studies, one quarter of Canadian businesses have already been the victim of a cyberattack, and half of these went out of business in the six months that followed. This shows how troubling the problem is, especially since it affects companies of all sizes. To deal with this scourge, companies must identify the threats to which they’re exposed, protect both their equipment and their data, and prevent their loss.
RansomwareRansomware is a type of software that, once introduced into the victim’s computer, locks it by encrypting the files and maintains control over it until a ransom is paid. Ransomware poses several problems. First of all, there are heaps of ready-to-use ransomware programs accessible to everyone on the dark web. Then, unlike most viruses, it can spread without it being necessary to open an email or click a link: it enters companies via the local servers and spreads from workstation to workstation. In 2017, the amount of ransomware has continued to grow, and ransom demands have become the latest trend for hackers. The WannaCry and Petya viruses alone thus accounted for more than one quarter of all cyberattacks in May. Prevention remains the best security measure to avoid getting infected. In companies, this involves:
- applying updates to software, applications, browsers, and operating systems as soon as they become available;
- not opening suspicious emails;
- checking the source of a link before clicking on it.
Trojan HorsesThe Trojan horse is a type of malware that has the appearance of a legitimate file, but which contains other programs designed to attack the system after encouraging the user to activate it. The best way to protect yourself against this is to always perform the updates. You should also never open an attachment or launch a program when you’re not sure about its source, as is the case with files downloaded from websites or file sharing. Software and hardware firewalls also help stop the downloading of Trojan horses on the computer. Antivirus software and a Trojan horse removal tool complete this arsenal of precautions.
Other ThreatsWhile ransomware and Trojan horses are some of the most common types of malware, there are many others, such as:
- adware, which displays advertisements and collects data about the user’s browsing habits;
- keyloggers, which spy on keystrokes and transmit the data elsewhere, especially user names and passwords;
- spyware, which steals a user’s data, such as protected information, passwords, and access codes;
- viruses, which attach themselves to an application and spread to other software and computers on the network and cause various damage; and
- worms, which infect a workstation then self-replicate within a network without requiring a host file.