Countering malware attacks: A guide for businesses 

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Small businesses often do not think of cybersecurity beyond basic compliance. While that’s important too, cybersecurity is not just about having a set of policies. Considering the number of security breaches and data theft incidents in recent years, cybersecurity is all about being proactive and countering the threats. One of the key concerns or threats for any business is malware. Short for malicious software, malware is used by hackers for varied reasons. There are varied types of malware files that can infect a system or network, including ransomware, worms, viruses, trojans, spyware, and adware. 

Update everything

Right from operating system and browsers to software and firmware, everything should be updated to the latest version. Manufactures release these updates for a reason. Some of these are just security patches. To avoid malware attacks, ensure that these patches are installed right after release. 

Train employees on social engineering

Employees are often the weakest link in preventing cyberthreats. Many breaches happen because unexpecting employees fall prey to social engineering attacks. For the unversed, social engineering is when someone tricks an employee or any user into divulging important information with fraudulent intentions. This could happen over phone, but mostly through emails. Ensure that your employees know the common social engineering tactics. 

Strong passwords are a must

For malware prevention, focusing on passwords is a must. Check if your employees are using strong passwords, without any personal information or easy-to-guess details. In fact, passwords should be replaced with passphrases with at least 16 characters. Also, if users don’t have a password manager yet, it’s high time that the company recommends one. 

Make the most of available protection

There is a whole bunch of anti-malware, anti-ransomware, and antivirus products in the market, many of which have rave reviews and have been developed with small businesses in mind. A good software product, along with a firewall, is enough to prevent most of the malware threats. 

Back up data regularly

If a network or system is infected with malware, a company should be able to retrieve data to restore everything in place. For that, backups are necessary and should be scheduled on a periodical basis. This is even more important for preventing the consequences of a ransomware attack, where the hacker keeps data locked and asks for a ransom in return of a decryption key. 

Finally, check if your company has a clear set of basic steps to followed after a malware attack. Reactive measures are as important as these proactive steps.