With many employees still working remotely and the sheer amount of data, it is estimated by 2025 the world’s collective data will reach 175 zettabytes, the need for cybersecurity awareness and protection has never been higher. With the amount of data ever increasing the cost of cyber attacks is predicted to hit $8 trillion in 2023 and will grow to $10.5 trillion by 2025, according to Cybersecurity Ventures’ 2022 Official Cybercrime Report.

These statistics paint a bleak view, but in a recent webinar, we shared how it is not all doom and gloom. You can watch the on-demand webinar on the cybersecurity threat landscape.

In an effort to help you stay ahead of the curve and up to date, we are answering the commonly asked questions about cybersecurity by our clients.

What is malware, and do I still need to be concerned in 2023?

Malware is an abbreviation for “malicious software,” which refers to any software designed to steal data, damage or destroy computers and computer systems. Malware can take many forms, some of the most common of which are viruses, worms, Trojan viruses, spyware, adware, and ransomware.

Each week, Google flags about 50 websites containing malware, and Daprot reports that 560,000 new malware are detected globally daily. In short, Yes, you still need to be vigilant against malware.

You can read more about malware and other cyberattacks in our quick cybersecurity dictionary here.

What is ransomware, and is it different than malware?

The term “ransomware” refers to a type of malicious software (also known as “malware”) that, until the victim pays a ransom fee to the perpetrator, threatens to publish or block access to data or a computer system, typically by encrypting the data in question. In many instances, the ransom demand will include a specific time limit. If the victim does not pay the ransom in time, the data is permanently deleted or the ransom amount increases.

Attacks using ransomware have reached an alarmingly widespread level. Major corporations all over the world, including North America and Europe, have been affected by it. Criminals operating online will target any consumer or business in any sector for their attacks.

How do I get malware?

In most cases, malicious software is spread via compromised websites, spam emails, and software. Additionally, malware can be concealed within other files, such as image or document files, or even within files that initially appear completely harmless, such as.exe files.

Users risk unintentionally installing malware when they interact with phishing emails by clicking on links contained within those emails or when they download and install software from websites that do not have a good reputation. When a user visits a website that is infected with malware or when the user connects an infected USB drive to their computer, malware has the potential to be installed on the user’s computer.

How can I prevent cyberattacks?

Businesses need to set out clear cybersecurity policies for their employees. These policies should include where and how company data is saved, the procedure for downloading new software for work on business devices, the cadence for backing up data, the user roles and restricting admin rights, and two-factor authentication.

In addition to these policies, you should have regular cyber awareness training and monitoring to notify you of any potential threats. Consider hiring an IT security expert, like Evron, to support you.

My employees have antivirus software installed on their devices. Isn’t this enough?

The simple answer is No.

With the evolution of AI and tools like ChatGPT, cybercriminals have become more sophisticated and harder to spot for everyday users. Modern-day spyware comes through emails, legitimate-looking websites, files, and so much more. Complicated passwords are not even enough these days, as you may be prompted to log in to a spoof of a site you are familiar with.

End-to-end security is critical for all businesses. This means employing an integrated approach that monitors all facets of your business, continually scanning all incoming data and sites for threats. You have to build a security wall around your business and each individual part that is vulnerable to cyberattacks. This involves much more than just antivirus software. And please, never download a free one! Check out our endpoint security offerings.

How do hackers find me?

In a way, you find them. They may send hundreds of bogus emails posing as someone else or a different site. If you fall for the bait, you get trapped. The damage might not be apparent initially— hackers can lay low in the background and monitor your online activity. You won’t know it’s happened, but you might expose sensitive data or financial information. It won’t be long before you see the results of the crime.

If you have any questions about IT security or want a risk assessment, please contact our consultant.