What is Malware? Some Eye-Opening Statistics
According to Norton, the United States remains the number one target for malware attacks, accounting for 38% of attacks between 2015 and 2017. In fact, web attacks are up by 56% from previous years. The danger is real, and the more you know about malware the better prepared you will be to make informed decisions about your company’s cybersecurity.
What is Malware?
The Federal Trade Commission defines malware as “viruses, spyware, and other unwanted software that gets installed on your computer or mobile device without your consent.” It can wind up on your system through vulnerabilities in software like Microsoft Office or through an email with a link that results in a drive-by download once you click on it. Many times malware is inadvertently installed along with downloads of software and videos from less than reputable sources. It can also be installed on your computer network by a skilled hacker.
What Does Malware Do?
Malware might monitor your online activity, which can include screenshots and keystroke logging to capture sensitive login or financial information. It might take the form of a virus that basically scrambles your data and applications to the point that they become unusable. Malware could take over control of your computer system or device. It could manifest as ransomware, where your data is encrypted and held ransom by a hacker. The intent behind malware, no matter what form it takes, is always malicious.
Malware Attacks are Expensive
As of April of 2018, Statistia reports that 53% of malware-related attacks cost an average of $500,000+ dollars while 30% caused an average of $100,000 damage, based on numbers reported worldwide. The aftermath of these attacks can be expensive to small businesses, including ransomware which cost an average of $1,077 to ransom but resulted in losses averaging $133,000.
Small Businesses Are Not Exempt
Statistics from SCORE indicate that 43% of malware attacks were aimed not at large corporations but small businesses in 2017, and that number is expected to rise. Small businesses make a good target for hackers because they are usually not as rigorous with online security measures, including firewalls, antivirus tools, and performing regular software and hardware updates.
What Applications are Most Vulnerable?
Statistia, using data from Kaspersky Lab, indicates that the most vulnerable aspect of most computer systems is Microsoft Office, responsible for 47.2% of vulnerabilities that can lead to hacking, followed by browsers at 23.5% and Android at 20.7%. Despite the warnings that are often associated with Java and Adobe Flash Players, they only account for 5.5% and 2.5% of vulnerabilities, respectively. However, in a different sense, email and web activity also pose vulnerabilities. For example, Norton Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report indicates that 1 out of every 10 URLs is malicious, making unfiltered web activity very dangerous.
Malware is a very real threat to your company, and a malware attack can bring your entire company down. Vistage research, in cooperation with Cisco, indicates that 60% of small businesses go bankrupt or otherwise fail within just six months of a cyber attack. Don’t let your company become one of those statistics — make sure your cybersecurity measures are protecting your network against the latest attacks.
Maryland IT Solutions
If you are interested in an aggressive solution to network security that is responsive to the latest malware threats, contact Maryland IT Solutions. We can provide your company with a security package that includes antivirus tools, a firewall, and both web and email filtering. Your cybersecurity system is carefully monitored and kept up-to-date. Contact us today to see what we can offer you in the way of network security!