How to Prevent Malware Attacks in 2022?

From government organizations to mega corporations, any entity can come under the radar of malware attacks. Every 39 seconds, one or another type of cyberattack takes place. Thus, it’s important to know how to prevent malware attacks

So, what is malware? It’s a malicious software that enters your system without your knowledge and consent to steal, corrupt, or modify data or systems. 

The worst part is that many types of malware can spread from system to system. In 2021, 74% of organizations experienced malware activity spreading among employees. Scary, no? 

Keep reading for the best ways to prevent malware.

 

Use Antivirus Software and Firewalls

While antivirus software protects file systems against unwanted programs, a firewall blocks hackers from entering and accessing devices. A firewall identifies and blocks unrecognized traffic. It defends the system against any software or hardware-based incoming, external cyberattack.

Installing an antivirus should be the primary step in learning how to prevent malware attacks. It offers protection against different types of malware like viruses, adware, malvertising, spyware, etc.

It also ensures protection against malware stored on removable devices so that all your data remains safe. Moreover, antivirus solutions regularly scan files and programs for any peculiarities and malicious activity.

 

Invest in Email Protection

Lately, email phishing attacks have been on the rise. As per the FBI’s ICCC 2020 report, 54% of managed service providers (MSPs) registered ransomware attacks through emails as the top breaching method. This resulted in an accumulated loss of over $4.2 billion in 2020.

Generally, phishing emails carry malicious links or attachments through which hackers gain access to devices, personal information, and social media accounts. They can also obtain your banking details to commit monetary fraud.

At times, threat actors use social engineering skills to trick you into willingly submitting crucial details. Implement SPF, DKIM, and DMARC protocols for the best possible email solutions offered by EasyDMARC. These measures are vital for malware prevention as they allow only authenticated users to send emails over a network.

 

Implement Endpoint Detection and Response

Deploying endpoint security should be the priority of businesses who want to know how to avoid malware attacks, including computer worms and trojan viruses. Businesses today have multiple end-users or endpoints like laptops, mobile phones, and servers. 

Each of these points is a potential opportunity for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities and penetrate a system. Implementing endpoint detection and response techniques allows system administrators to monitor and manage security for endpoints.

 

Patch Your Applications and OS

Patching apps and operating systems fixes weaknesses that cyberactors can otherwise exploit. The process ensures all programs are updated with the latest software security measures supporting system uptime.

If your business sells a product or service online, this technique ensures customer safety. Hire experts who know how to prevent malware through patch management.

 

Implement Access Controls

This technique prevents malware attacks by limiting user access and permissions to only the data required to complete a task or daily duties. There are two types: The principle of least privilege and just-in-time access.

Principle of Least Privilege

This principle ensures that human and non-human users (like tools) only have access to the data and system components required to work. When some privilege points are left open, hackers exploit these loopholes to breach systems. This is one of the best ways to prevent malware because:

  • It reduces cyberattacks
  • It improves end-user productivity
  • It prevents the transmission of malware

Just-in-Time Access

With just-in-time access human and non-human users are permitted to access tools, programs, and files for a limited timeframe only. So, instead of granting always-on (or standing) access, companies use just-in-time access. Implement this technique to teach employees how to stop malware. It limits the time hackers have to try entering your corporate network.

 

Implement Application Graylisting on User Endpoints

Graylisting is a cybersecurity technique against spamming and phishing emails. Using this technique, a mail transfer agent or MTA ‘temporarily rejects’ an email coming from a new email address. The sender receives a bounce-back email telling them to retry sending it at a specific time, and their system will then accept it. 

This simply works on most hackers’ mentality— their time is precious, so they probably  won’t read a bounce back mail and set reminders to resend an email.

The technique works efficiently against hybrid malware and other forms of malicious software unless bad actors try to breach a system independently.

 

Use an Intrusion Detection System (IDS)

An Intrusion Detection System (IDS) identifies malicious activities by comparing network traffic logs to signatures. In cybersecurity terminology, a signature is a digital file attached to an email that works by using encryption and decryption algorithms. This helps in the verification of documents, their origin, and contents. IDS regularly updates signatures and notifies you of any anomalies.

 

Apply Application Whitelisting on Servers

Enabling whitelisting after learning how to avoid malware attacks will allow only safe applications to be downloaded and executed on a network. Programs not enlisted will be blocked or restricted. This method stops accidental downloads of malware-injected programs and files. Whitelisting also disallows users from visiting a corrupted website.

 

Backup Data Frequently and Automatically

The foremost and easiest step to prevent malware attacks is backing up your data to an external drive or cloud server. Did you know ransomware attacks increased by 92.7% in 2021 as compared to 2020? So, even if your data is stolen and encrypted, you can reinstall backup files instead of paying a hefty ransom.

Try the famous 3-2-1 approach: Keep three separate copies of data on two different storage types with one copy offline. Alternatively, you can keep one copy each of immutable data (which can’t be altered) and indelible data (which can’t be deleted) on cloud servers. Backup important data at least once a day.

 

Final Thoughts

It’s better to be safe than sorry, right? So, before someone tricks you and hacks your system, learn how to prevent malware. You can start by regularly backing up all the crucial data on an external hard drive, cloud servers, etc. 

Also install robust antivirus software and firewalls in addition to implementing whitelisting on networks. Whitelisting ensures no malicious links are downloaded onto your network. It also blocks the loading of fake websites that’ll keep your system protected against undetectable fileless malware.

Investing in EasyDMARC’s email protection techniques like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC will authenticate your email servers to prevent and detect malware embedded in phishing emails These protocols block emails sent by hackers in an organization’s name.

 

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