What is Malware? How Can it Affect Your Business?

What is Malware? How Can it Affect Your Business?

An estimated 16.5% of small businesses have experienced a malware attack. Cybercrimes against small businesses are on the rise, and many businesses in Miami have been affected. Unfortunately, many small business owners don’t know what malware is and how it can impact their business.

If you’re looking to improve your business’s cybersecurity in Miami, it’s important to understand malware and its effects.

What is Malware?

Malware is malicious software that can damage or destroy a system and steal sensitive information. 

Examples of malware include:

  • Viruses: Typically attached to a file or document that’s downloaded onto the system. Viruses remain dormant until the infected file is opened. Once in use, the virus will disrupt the system’s normal operation. Viruses are designed to self-replicate, so they can quickly spread from one host to another.
  • Trojans: A Trojan virus infiltrates a system under the guise of being helpful software. Once downloaded and opened, the virus can access sensitive data and even modify or delete that data. Although Trojan viruses cannot self-replicate, they can harm the device’s performance. 
  • Worms: Worms can replicate and spread through a network like wildfire. They, too, can harm a system’s operation and cause data loss.
  • Adware: Just as its name suggests, adware collects data from your system for the purpose of displaying advertisements. Adware isn’t always dangerous, but it can be a nuisance and disrupt system usage. In some cases, it can redirect you to an unsecured site or even contain a Trojan horse.
  • Spyware: Hidden malicious software that reports back to a remote user. Spyware specifically targets sensitive information and can provide remote users access to your personal or financial information. Keyloggers are one type of spyware, and they record your keystrokes to share your personal data and passwords with cybercriminals.
  • Ransomware: Ransomware can be especially troublesome for small businesses. Criminals that use this attack take the business’s information or system “hostage” until a ransom is paid. They use encryption to prevent access to files or information.

These are the most common types of malware that affect businesses, and they can be costly if they aren’t removed early on.

How Can Malware Affect Your Business?

Malware can cause an array of issues from small businesses. Along with disrupting system or device use, they can also steal sensitive information. For small businesses, the effects of malware can be costly and damaging.

Malware Can Harm Your Reputation

Malware can access sensitive information and even take control of your system. For example, it can send spam emails under the guise of your business or even send personal information to a remote party. 

Ultimately, these actions will harm your reputation as a business and make it harder to win the trust of customers.

Malware Can Disrupt Your Operations

Malware can also disrupt your operations and takeover your devices. For example, they may block access to certain programs or shut down the entire network.

Ultimately, malware can harm your business’s finances and reputation. Taking steps to prevent malware or remove it as soon as it infiltrates the system can help minimize the impact and prevent a costly disaster