Dennis Underwood
Published on
March 23, 2023

How To Prevent Malware Attacks: Tips For Business Owners

It doesn't matter how big your business is; malware is still a threat. You can read this guide to learn how to prevent malware attacks.

Did you know that 5.4 billion malware attacks occurred worldwide last year? Sadly, the overwhelming source of these attacks was the professional sector. You would think that these attacks would be confined to large corporations. 

But the reality is that they tend to favor SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises). So what type of malware do you need to watch out for? And how do you prevent them? This article will teach business owners everything they need to know about this vital cybersecurity topic. 

Why Hackers Attack SMEs

Many small business owners need to give two thoughts about malware, which is part of the problem. Did you know that 43% of all cyberattacks happen against small businesses? 

There are a lot of reasons for this, but the main ones are that SMEs tend to use small networks that aren't complex. What's more, they're highly dependent on IT infrastructure. 

That means they can attack SMEs rapidly, which can be said about large corporations with substantial cybersecurity budgets. 

It should be a surprise that the same study found that 47% of businesses under fifty employees don't have a dedicated cybersecurity budget. If you fall into this category, you must know you're at risk. 

A man in a gray sweater typing on a computer

Different Types of Malware You Need to Defend Against

The problem is that new malware applications are being created every day. One study found nearly 700 million new malware programs detected over five years. And many of these forms of malware were fileless. 

That means your attackers don't need to commit anything to drive, which makes them extremely challenging to defend. Some of the more common types of malware you're likely to encounter include:

In this section, we'll be going over how this attack happened and the effects of the attack on small businesses. You can also learn more about these threats in our detailed guide here


Ransomware has become such a massive threat that's is often mistakenly confused with malware. With ransomware, a hacker will gain network access and block the organization from accessing their data. 

They'll then hold the data hostage until a ransom is paid. Ransomware is by far the most common type of malware, with 236 million attacks happening in the first quarter of 2022 alone. 


Adware is a variation of malware that automatically downloads software onto your computer. That software then bombards you with unwanted pop-up ads, spyware, and home page changes. 

One site found that adware is the most common form of mobile malware. It can cripple your business operations. 

Related: Why Ransomware Defense Efficiency Is So Important: Part 1


Spyware is a variation of malware that targets an infected computer or device. Once infected, the spyware allows the criminal to actively monitor the user without their knowledge or consent.

This is dangerous for businesses because hackers can gather sensitive data through your communications. 


This form of malware is spread through vulnerabilities in software. It can replicate and distribute copies of itself without any need for human interaction. 

Like spyware, worms infect devices without the user's knowledge. According to this site, the most destructive work was the ILOVEYOU virus. 


Computer viruses are similar to worms in that they also self-replicate before being passed on to new hosts. It's most common for viruses to spread through applications and email attachments. 53% of viruses are distributed through .exe files.


This type of malware tries to convince people that they have a virus on their computers. It will then convince them to pay or download a program that will remove the malware. However, it actually proceeds to install malware on the computer. 


Similar to the Greek Trojan Horse, this form of malware is designed to look legitimate. Then, once you download it, it becomes actual malware. It's more similar to rogue ware than a virus since a trojan cannot self-replicate. 

Why Malware is Challenging to Defend Against

As this article highlights, the biggest challenge with malware is that cybercriminals are coming up with new methods daily. That means that unless you're hiring a pro hacker to test your system every few months, it will be futile to stay ahead of the criminals. 

As we mentioned, many cybercriminals are turning toward fileless attacks, which are even more challenging to defend against than traditional malware. 

However, while it might be hard to prevent an attack, you can take precautions to avoid becoming one of the 60% of small businesses that close after a cyberattack. 

A woman on a computer reviewing the cybersecurity of a business

How to Fortify Your Business from Malware Attacks

We mentioned that fortifying your business against malware attacks is difficult. But it's important not to give up hope. There are things you can do to prevent or minimize the damage caused by malware. In this section, we'll briefly discuss them. 

Utilize Security Software

The right type of security software is vital to defending against malware. However, remember that it's not enough on its own. Many fileless malware attacks can bypass these forms of antiviral software. So you shouldn't rely entirely on it. 

Want to learn more about CyberCrucible can protect you from fileless malware attacks like ransomware? Follow this link to learn more about our innovative security software. 

Stay Current on Software and Hardware Updates

Cybercriminals are constantly updating their malware programs to search for vulnerabilities in their software and hardware. In response, software and hardware providers update their programs. 

That's why it's essential to ensure that all of your hardware and software are up to date. Attackers might be able to find new vulnerabilities. But keeping everything up-to-date will remove the ability for attackers to use known vulnerabilities against you.

Related: Always be a Noob

Use Strong Authentication and Passwords

Your log-in protocol should be air-tight to help protect against malware. That means implementing two-factor authentication whenever you log in. You and your employees should also be changing your passwords often. And only log your password into a system that you trust.

Utilize Anti-Lateral Movement Technology

When malware gains access to your system, it will first try to find another device to spread to. Anti-lateral movement technology prevents malware from spreading to other devices on the network. 

This is important because it's much easier to recover one device in a network than multiple ones. The good news is that CyberCrucible can both detect and stop lateral movement on a preventative level. 

Educate Your Staff on Best Security Practices

It doesn't matter what role someone has on your staff; they should have some basic working knowledge of cybersecurity practices. This knowledge should include things like:

  • Common malware threats
  • Trends in cybersecurity
  • Warning signs they should be aware of
  • How to report suspicious activity

Basic training can go a long way toward preventing someone from mistakenly downloading malware. It can also help your team identify a threat before it spreads too far. 

Follow Safe Browsing and Email Practices 

When browsing or emailing, ensure you and your employees use healthy skepticism. If something looks sketchy, avoid it. 

This can include strange-looking email addresses, requests for personal info, and odd formatting or spelling. You should also avoid websites with no HTTP within the URL. 

Backup Important Data

Malware like ransomware targets important information you hold on your hardware and prevents you from accessing it. 

EnsureThat's why it's essential to back up any critical data you're working with. Make sure you can verify the restoration of the data because some malware also targets your backup data. 

Related: Get the Best Protection Against Ransomware

Leverage Third-Party Security Solutions for Added Security

The more security solution you can implement into your cybersecurity strategy, the more secure you'll be from malware. Just make sure that you ensure that third-party solutions are compatible with each other. Otherwise, that could accidentally cause a hole in your security net. 

Implementing the Best Security Practices Is Critical to Your Business

It can take a lot of work to justify investing in a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. But the reality is that things can be much worse in the event of a malware attack. 

It can cripple your operations, leak your personal information, and hold your business for ransom. That's why it's vital to implement the security practices we covered in this article. 

It's an unfortunate fact, but in this day and age of malware, attack protection falls on you. Contact CyberCrucible to reduce the risk of these attacks on your business. 

About the author
Dennis Underwood

Dennis Underwood is a veteran, cybersecurity leader, inventor, and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience. He is an expert at cryptography, intrusion discovery and analysis, having discovered multiple previously unreported intrusions to clients throughout his career. Currently, he is leading a team of like-minded experts delivering next generation intrusion discovery and ransomware response automation tools to consumers.

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