How Do Malware Breaches Actually Occur?

How Do Malware Breaches Actually Occur?

How do malware breaches actually occur? Here at Solutions Review, we write about how your enterprise can protect itself against malware, ransomware, and data breaches. We discuss the cybersecurity and endpoint security solutions that your business could deploy to combat external threat actors and insider threats alike. 

However, often we only skim on how malware breaches actually occur? What weaknesses do hackers exploit to actually break into employee devices and from there the network? 

Here, we cover some of the top means by which hackers actually conduct malware breaches, and how endpoint security can help stop them. 

 

How Malware Breaches Actually Occur

1. Unprotected, Unmonitored Devices

The first means by which malware breaches actually occur is the simplest: hackers look for a device that isn’t monitored and just enter. 

That may seem rather obvious, but the means by which hackers do this can vary wildly. For example, take the increasing ubiquity of bring-your-own-devices (BYOD) and remote work occurring on personal devices. These devices don’t inherently have the protection of your on-premises digital perimeter, and therefore can easily let in hackers. Mobile devices can connect to your network but without proper monitoring lay out the welcome mat to all comers. 

Alternatively, many legacy endpoint security solutions fail to monitor Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Since IoT devices rarely if ever come with their own internal cybersecurity firmware, they turn into easy targets. 

The solution to this problem is threefold. One, deploy a next-generation endpoint security solution that can scale with the increasingly remote workforce and monitor IoT devices. Two, have all employees register devices with your IT security team so they know which devices to monitor. Three, deploy a VPN so that traffic between remote and BYOD devices and the network stays secure regardless of location. 

2. Unpatched Devices

This relates somewhat to the conversation above, but only somewhat. Unfortunately, plenty of businesses still believe that once they have a solution or tool, they are set. Like all good things, endpoint security requires maintenance and upkeep to function optimally. The same proves true for devices of all caliber; if you leave them unpatched and without upgrades, they lack the security intelligence necessary to prevent hackers from utilizing known tools. 

Therefore, you need to constantly ensure you use the most up-to-date software on all devices and cybersecurity solutions. You can schedule regular patch days or schedule patches to occur at off-hours to prevent disruption of business workflows. 

3. Social Engineering Attacks (Phishing)

Hackers love phishing attacks, and it is easy to see why; they tend to be successful, profitable, and difficult to detect until it is too late. Phishers and spear-phishers alike have refined their techniques to minimize detection and maximize success. 

Usually, phishing emails pose as a generic email from a relatively trusted source like a bank or supervisor. They may ask employees to make a purchase, input their credentials, or send sensitive data to a fake website. Once the hacker has them, they can do with them as they wish. However, sometimes phishing emails automatically deploy malware when opened, or as soon as a link is clicked. 

Endpoint security can prevent these breaches through email security, which filters emails from suspicious or known malware sites. However, email security can only filter so many emails. You must also instruct your employees on how to recognize a phishing email: 

  • Look for off-color logos, misspellings in the message or mastheads, or other signs of impersonation. 
  • React cautiously to any message that demands urgency or credentials input over email. If in doubt, contact the company/institution/person directly (never use numbers of emails contained in the suspicious email).
  • Unless you know to expect one, never open an attachment in an email.
  • Don’t click on links in emails. If possible, input the alleged link location manually. 
  • Don’t open suspicious emails if at all possible.
  • Always feel skeptical of unusual purchase requests or other requests. Again, contact the person directly through another medium if at all possible to verify. 

You can learn more about how malware breaches occur and how to stop them in our Endpoint Security Buyer’s Guide

 

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Ben Canner

Editor, Cybersecurity at Solutions Review
Ben Canner is an enterprise technology writer and analyst covering Identity Management, SIEM, Endpoint Protection, and Cybersecurity writ large. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Clark University in Worcester, MA. He previously worked as a corporate blogger and ghost writer. You can reach him via Twitter and LinkedIn.
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