Cybercrime series – Malware explained

Last week Ticketmaster UK admitted it had suffered a security breach, which could have resulted in thousands of customers having personal or payment information stolen.

The breach was caused by malicious software (malware) Ticketmaster discovered on a third-party supplier’s support product.

Ticketmaster UK has alerted the customers whose information may have been accessed, offering them a free 12-month identity monitoring service. Whilst Ticketmaster UK may not have suffered initially from the breach, this service and the damage to its reputation may have a long lasting financial impact.

Cyberattacks and data breaches are becoming increasingly common and it’s not just the big companies who are targeted. To be able to protect your business you should understand the risks so you can implement your own protection.

What is Malware?

Malware is malicious software designed to bring harm to a computer system. It can steal protected data, delete documents or add software not approved by the user. The most common types of malware are:

Worms

A computer worm is a standalone computer program that replicates itself in order to spread to other computers. They typically contain code designed to do more than spread the worm, known as the ‘payload’. Typically payloads might delete files, encrypt files or steal data.

Virus

Viruses replicate themselves by modifying other computer programs. Much like worms they contain payloads that cause harm by deleting files, stealing data or compromising systems completely.

Trojan

A Trojan misleads users of its true intent by masking its identity, like the famed wooden horse in the Ancient Greek legend. Once it has accessed the system it can cause harm in any number of ways.

Spyware

Spyware is software that gathers information about a person or organisation without their knowledge. It may send the information to another entity or asserts control of a device with the user’s knowledge.

Ransomware

Ransomware threatens to publish the victim’s data or permanently block access unless a ransom is paid.

This is not an exhaustive list. There are many more types of malware

How do protect your business from malware

Malware takes many forms and because of that it can infiltrate your systems in numerous ways. Simple steps can be taken to protect your business against malware including: Having good anti-virus software and spam filters, making sure your operating systems and software is updated with the latest security updates, encrypting data can help should hackers find their way into your system.

Most cyberattacks enter a system through human error such as an employee opening an email. Educating employees to identify possible malware in emails can help a lot to protect your business.

At 5 Rings Group, we believe in demystifying the jargon around IT and cybersecurity. We work with businesses to educate them on the risks of a cyberattack. We believe that when businesses are empowered to make their own decisions on cybercrime they can adopt a cost-effective, risk-based approach to cybersecurity.

Why protecting your business is so important

Most businesses believe that cyberattacks only happen to big companies so those in high-risk industry, but any business of any size can fall victim. With GDPR now in force, the consequences of a data breach, like the Ticketmaster UK breach caused by malware, can be devastating to your business. If you don’t protect your data properly you could face penalties of up to 4% of total global revenue.

Cyber security for your business doesn’t have to cost thousands and thousands. We can help you understand the risk and create a protection strategy for your business.