Malware, viruses, spyware, and phishing – if you aren’t in the know, it can sound like a completely different language. It can feel overwhelming trying to understand cyber security and all the various threats. And all too often, these terms are explained using technical jargon without thinking about the average person.
So we put together this simple guide that tells you clearly, in simple English, what each is and why it is important for you to protect your systems from these types of cyber security threats.
Malware is a blanket term used to describe malicious software. It is any software designed to intentionally cause harm to a device, server, client, or computer network. This includes spyware, viruses, and ransomware (which we will cover below).
When a user clicks a dangerous link, it downloads and installs the malware onto the system. Depending on what kind of software it is, it can go on to inflict damage, steal your data, or spy on your activity.
Viruses spread when people make innocent mistakes, such as using USBs with viruses on them and downloading infected files. Opening attachments in suspicious-looking emails can also download a virus onto your device. It is important to protect your system from viruses because they can slow down your computer, cause crashes, damage programs, and in worse cases, cause you to lose data.
The UK was the second most attacked country in 2019 for ransomware attacks, costing businesses £365 million. But what is ransomware? Simply put, ransomware infects your computer and holds your data hostage. If you pay a sum of money, you might get your data back, but you also might not.
It is always a good idea to keep off-site backups. Ransomware is dangerous because while your data may eventually be returned, that doesn’t mean the attackers haven’t kept a copy for themselves. These attacks can cost businesses thousands and quickly destroy their reputation. A famous example is the WannaCry ransomware that attacked the NHS’s IT systems.
Just like it sounds, this is a software that enables a user to obtain information about your activity. They can watch what you do on your computer without you even knowing. Spyware is dangerous as it can steal sensitive information such as card details, login details, and monitor your activity. Not only that, but spyware is difficult to detect. Using an antivirus with anti-spyware features can help protect your system.
Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated with their methods to steal information and infect devices with malicious software. It can be difficult to keep up with all the various terms and phrases, but as criminals find newer, more sophisticated ways to infiltrate businesses and steal their information, it is important to stay on top of it all.
Knowing their methods is half the battle. The other half is protecting your business with effective cyber security solutions, giving your business the best chance against cybercriminals.
Are you ready to protect your business? Put your mind at ease with Nisyst Cyber Security. For more information, contact us on 01204 706000.