With cybercrime being such a lucrative business, it's no wonder a new threat pops up every other day. McAfee's 2014 report noted that the cybercrime industry is said to now be costing the global economy anywhere between $375b - $500b annually (& growing).
Sadly the phenomenal amount of illegal activity this equates to can easily instill fear in any business owner, or person responsible for protecting business information.
To remain alert, it's important to understand the seven different types of cybercrime threats to your business - all of which fall under the term 'malware' - a digital threat.
Spam - In its simplest form, spam is an unsolicited message sent out in bulk. The most common form is an undesirable email message. In most of its iterations, spam acts as the foot in the door to your network. Once in, they spread viruses and other malicious software.
Phishing - Phishing usually occurs when a website masquerades as another site in an attempt to steal your information. When you enter information on what you think is a trusted site, you’re actually sending that information (user names, passwords, credit card information etc) to criminals.
Viruses - The most common form of all, they usually make their way onto a system in the form of a download or via USB device. Once they find their way onto a computer or server, they replicate & attach to various programs, then can steal data, manipulate programs, corrupt your hard drive, block access, or even shut down your entire system.
Worms - A worm too, replicates itself to cause harm. Worms however, target entire systems, spreading from computer to computer. Unlike a virus, a worm can stand on its own - it doesn’t need to attach to another program to do harm.
Trojan horses - These are standalone programs deriving their name from the fact they appear to be harmless software. Once installed, however, the trojan horse creates a connection to the host computer. The creator can then use that connection to manipulate the host to his or her own needs.
Spyware - A type of software that tracks users without their consent. The most common form is adware tracking cookies: tiny bits of code that websites install in your computer when you visit the site to track your movements, usually for the purpose of targeted advertising.
Ransomware - An attack that may enter your computer or device in any of the forms mentioned above which then encrypts your data and holds it for ransom. It is only released back in return for payment.
Of all these threats, phishing, viruses, worms & trojan horses are the most harmful of all for businesses because of the speed & extent with which they can bring harm to your network and productivity, not to mention the cost.
If you have any questions about this post or IT security in your business, please get in touch on 02 4254 544 or email us.