Malware can take many forms. What they all have in common,
though, is that they can turn into a big concern for your business very
Some pieces of malicious software take over your computers
or workstations until you give up ransom payments to developers. Others can
flood your business – including your employees and customers – with endless
spam and pop-up ads. Perhaps the worst form of malware are the little bits of
code that spy on your communications, looking for things like account numbers
and financial transactions so thieves can get access to that information later.
Because the threat of malware is changing and evolving all
the time, lots of business owners and executives aren’t really sure what they
should do to guard against the threat. Even worse, most have no idea how to
respond to a malware attack once it happens.
It’s easy to make things worse by doing something you
shouldn’t. So, today we’re going to share a handful of tips you can use in the
event you know or suspect you have malicious software on your computers or
devices. We hope you are never in that situation, but if you are, here’s what
you definitely shouldn’t do…
Don’t Ignore the Risk
When it comes to malware, a lot of professionals seem to
take the “it could never happen to me” approach. That might be comforting, but
it isn’t sound business strategy. You don’t have to run an enormous company to
have hackers target your business. Many online thieves commit quick and easy
crimes of opportunity. If your company’s hardware or software seems easy to get
into, they’ll come looking for you.
It’s hard to find firm statistics, but it’s thought that
malware affects thousands of small and medium-sized businesses throughout Arizona
each year, costing them tens of millions in theft, missing revenue, and lost
productivity. Typically, it’s the businesses that think they have the least to
lose that are hit the hardest.
Know that the risk is real, and pay attention to warning
signs like error messages, suspicious emails, and slow technology performance that
seems to come out of nowhere. If any of these seems to be a problem, make a
phone call and find out whether you need help from a professional IT team.
Don’t Panic About
Your Malware Attack
If it turns out you do have malware on company computers or equipment, don’t panic. Sometimes,
business owners or managers will decide to deal with the issue by formatting
hard drives or replacing specific devices. Buying new tech can get expensive,
and you don’t want to overreact and wipe out all your files at once.
You may not know what the scope of the problem is. That’s
not great news, but it’s not a terrible position to be in, either. Things might
not be as bad as they seem, and you don’t want to make them worse by taking
drastic steps that won't solve the issue.
Sometimes the quick fixes business owners turn to in order
to resolve malware are worse than the original infections themselves. Don’t
turn a small repair into a big one by formatting something you shouldn’t,
downloading software you don’t understand, or turning to a solution that seems
too good to be true.
Don’t Ignore the
Issue and Hope it Will Resolve Itself
Just as you don’t want to go too far, neither do you want to
ignore malware if it has infected your computers or devices. Ignoring the
problem won’t make it go away, and seemingly small issues can get progressively
worse with inattention.
For example, some small pieces of spyware can download
malicious code in the background if you don’t get rid of them right away. Or,
you could end up spreading malware from one computer, workstation, or device to
another if you aren’t diligent about getting rid of the problem. The point here
is that the issue won’t solve itself, so don’t bury your head in the sand and
hope for the best.
Having malware removed usually isn’t expensive or time-consuming,
but it isn’t something that can be put off indefinitely, either.
Don’t Keep Infected
Digital viruses resemble their biological counterparts in an
important way – both stay alive through constant spreading and infection. So,
if you don’t deal with malware quickly, there’s a chance it will move from one
device on your network to another.
The best way to stop this from happening is by simply taking
affected workstations, tablets, etc., offline if you can. Better yet, turn them
off completely (unplugging cords if necessary) until they can be inspected by
an IT professional. Leave them sitting where they are and you could make the
problem worse, even if you aren’t actively doing anything with the affected
If you can’t take affected hardware offline, consider
shutting down your network until the problem is solved. The problem will be
fixed quicker if fewer devices have malware, and there will be less chance of
hackers stealing information from you.
Don’t Make Any
Payments or Money Transfers
In the last couple of years, lots of individuals – and more
than a few very large organizations – have made big payments to hackers who are
holding their files ransom. This is almost always the wrong course of action.
Even if the amounts demanded by the producers of a piece of
malware are small, there are a couple of problems with the payoff approach. One
is that you have identified yourself as a target for future exploitation. The
other is that you are rewarding the hacker, thereby encouraging them to develop
even more malicious code in the future.
Of course, there is also the chance that your financial
information will be shared or stolen. So, take our advice and call an IT team
if you are infected by malware, rather than paying a ransom you'll regret
Don’t Forget to
Monitor Website, Email, and Financial Activity
In many cases, malware can be removed from many infected
devices in a short period of time. Afterwards, you’ll want your IT team keeping
an eye on your website, email, and other technology. Additionally, you’ll want
to watch your own financial transactions to ensure nothing seems out of place.
There are two reasons you need to take this step. One has to
do with unknown consequences. If you aren’t sure when your computers were
infected with malware, then you can’t be certain what kind of information
hackers already have. Also, this kind of activity check can help you be sure
that all the malicious code was taken away and your business is back to normal
In the same way your doctor wants to know you're well after
giving you medicine, your IT team will likely want to keep an eye on your
computers and email activity following a malware attack.
DO Call the IT
Experts to Protect Your Business and Customers
As we’ve already mentioned, it’s a lot easier to deal with a
malware attack that doesn’t happen, than it is to fix the damage after the
fact. Unfortunately, most business owners and executives simply don’t have the
time or expertise to identify suspicious activity, much less prevent it.
For that reason, your best bet is almost always to have an
experienced team of technical experts working on your behalf. That’s exactly
what we have at Kinetik IT in Phoenix. Contact us for a free consultation and
you might be very surprised at just how easy and affordable it is to get the
help you need.
Whether you’re dealing with performance and security issues
stemming from a malware attack, or suspect you might not be as safe as you
could be, now is the time to act. Get in touch with our team today so we can
get your technology running perfectly again!