Tip - Understand How Malware Attacks Work

Learn the anatomy of a malware attack so you can better protect yourself & your business.

Malware is a growing concern in the web and email security world, as it can cause data loss, reputational damage, significant downtime, and other harmful impacts. Understanding malware and what you can do to defend your company against it can be beneficial so that your company can continue daily operations as planned without having to dedicate time and energy to constant email monitoring for malware protection. This article will discuss malware basics, the anatomy of an attack, and the options Guardian Digital offers to mitigate these email security risks.

Watch: Anatomy of a Malware Attack

What is Malware?

Malware refers to the malicious coding of files that victims download onto their computer system or server to access, steal, and block data. Most popularly, these email security breaches result from users downloading or opening malicious attachments or links. This phishing attack is when users fill out login credentials under the impression that the sender is trustworthy. Then, the threat actor uses that information to hack into a system and limit company productivity.

How Do Hackers Use Malware to Harm a Server?

Malware attacks severely affect organizations because cyber criminals can destroy company information, compromise email addresses, and utilize hack login credentials. These undesired results can leave a company struggling to regain permissions to the files and attachments they need to complete daily tasks. Unfortunately, businesses lose about fifty days' productivity if facing a malware attack, making this email threat all the more detrimental since data loss is only a fraction of a breach’s impact.

How Does a Malware Attack Work? The Anatomy of an Attack

cyberattackTo protect your organization against malware, you must understand how a malware attack works. There are typically five phases to an attack, which we will detail here so you know the design of these email security breaches that can harm a computer system. 

  1. Entry: Ninety-two percent of malware results from phishing email attacks that convince users to open links and input information that hackers can use to scam a business. Most phishing attacks focus on creating a sense of urgency in their email's tone to make users act quickly without analyzing the legitimacy of a message.
  2. Initial Compromise: Threat actors use newly compromised accounts to access a target organization's internal network and damage the system. Fileless malware attacks run in a computer's RAM so they can exploit server applications by integrating malicious code into device functions.
  3. Command and Control: Malicious actors establish a remote connection to the target environment to work persistently and undetected for months before enabling an attack.
  4. Lateral Movement: Cybercriminals compromise other systems, accounts, and devices once they have a sturdy relationship with the internal network.
  5. Exfiltration and Corruption: Threat actors corrupt critical systems, steal data, and disrupt business operations to reap the rewards. If the attack is malware ransomware, the cybercriminal informs the victim of the ransom payment, another benefit hackers hope to obtain. Typically, ransomware demands a Bitcoin price.

Understanding what goes into this type of phishing attack can help you detect an email threat and defend your company against any email security issues that could result from a hack.

How Do I Detect or Prevent a Malware Attack?

Monitor suspicious emails and activities and inspect them to confirm whether or not they are malware attacks. Here are some of the best practices for email security you can utilize to prevent these email threats from harming your system:

  • Inspect every received email and be wary of any unrecognizable behavior in a message. Suspicious activities include an unknown sender, altered headers and subject lines, and odd email addresses edited to look authentic.
  • Read the contents of a message thoroughly and look out for typos that hackers might insert, so built-in email security features do not inspect the message as carefully as needed.
  • If you are unsure about a sender or think a message might be a malware attempt, notify your IT team immediately so they can quarantine emails and ensure servers are safe.
  • Install email security software that can check emails for malicious code.
  • Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to protect online interactions on an in-cognito page.

How Can I Secure Business Email Against Malware Attacks?

Close up of businessman hand holding tablet with abstract glowing keyhole padlock interface on blurry background. Protection, safety and technology concept. Double exposureYou can choose from various email security solutions to secure your organization against Business Email Compromise, ransomware, and malware attacks. However, our offer at Guardian Digital can mitigate risks while allowing your organization to focus on daily tasks. Guardian Digital EnGarde Cloud Email Security has malware URL scanners, phishing prevention, and advanced threat protection to help keep your business safe from any email threat that targets your company.

Our defense-in-depth approach monitors all email security risks your business faces so that you do not need to spend time, energy, and effort eliminating these issues from your server. EnGarde can be incredibly useful for smaller businesses that need a security team to oversee all online interactions and protect the company 24/7/365 the way our web and email security software and professionals can. Check out a live demo to see if EnGarde is the right choice for your business.

Final Thoughts on Preventing Malware Attacks

As malware attacks grow, it is essential to constantly monitor your email security services to ensure they mitigate all possible risks. Malware inputs malicious code into phishing email attacks to steal login credentials and compromise accounts. Be cautious when opening attachments and links in messages from unknown senders to defend yourself and your organization against any issues you might encounter. Should a malware attack discreetly enter your system and cause problems like data loss and encrypted files, notify your IT team immediately. If you work in a smaller company, consider EnGarde as a cloud email security software that can defend your business against nonstop email threats. Implementing solutions like EnGarde is one of the best practices for email security that you can engage in to ensure malware protection.

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