How Companies Can Recognize a Malware Email

Data protection should be a top priority for all businesses. By protecting data, companies can prevent data breaches, meet regulatory requirements, and protect their reputations. Unfortunately, cybercrime rates continue to rise in Canada for individuals and businesses, creating a challenge for businesses to keep their information secure. 

The CyberEdge Group found that 78 percent of Canadian organizations experienced at least one cyberattack within a 12-month period. In 2021, this percentage rose to 85.7 percent. Moreover, over half the cyberattacks in Canada in 2021 were ransomware  —  a type of malware.

What is Malware?

Malware is intrusive software created by cybercriminals that steal data and damage and destroy computers and computer systems. Malware is an umbrella term for various types of attacks. Some common malware attacks include:

  • Viruses: A computer virus is a program that replicates itself when executed. It does so by modifying other computer programs and inserting its own code.
  • Worms: A computer worm is a type of malware that spreads copies of itself and goes from one computer to the next. A computer worm is able to replicate itself without any human intervention.
  • Trojan viruses: A Trojan virus is a malicious code or software that can take control of your computer. Trojans damage, disrupt, and steal your data or network. 
  • Spyware: This is a type of software that present malicious behaviour. Spyware aims to collect information about a person or organization and send it to another entity. 
  • Adware: This is software that automatically displays or downloads advertising material when a person is online. 
  • Ransomware:  This is software with the intent to block access to a computer system until a specified amount of money is paid. 

How to Recognize a Malware Email

The best way for businesses to protect themselves is to recognize malware attempts. Many cybercriminals attack companies through email because it is a natural correspondence among businesses. As a result, it can be easy to overlook a malicious attack if companies aren’t aware of the signs.

Here are a few tips to help you recognize a malware email:

Sender’s Email Address

One of the easiest ways to spot a malware email is by looking at the sender’s email address. If you notice an email that appears unfamiliar or doesn’t exactly match the email of the company you’re expecting correspondence from, there’s a good chance it’s malware.

You’ll also notice that many malware emails come as package delivery notices or invoice notices. These types of emails hardly have the correct address and will seem unusual. 

Encouragement to Open a Link or Attachment

Have you ever received an unexpected email encouraging you to open a link or attachment? Think twice before clicking. Many malware emails will entice you to open an attachment or follow a web link. Once you click on the link or open the attachment, this creates the opportunity for the cybercriminal to attack. 

Information Verification

Some malware emails will attempt to make recipients go through an information verification process with the aim of gaining sensitive data. The email may request that you confirm certain details or review and provide information with an attachment. 

For instance, a cybercriminal may ask you to confirm your details for delivery. Even if you did order something, it’s always best to contact support to ensure that they are, in fact, requesting these details. Threat or Urgency within Email

A telltale sign that a malware email has landed in your inbox is if the email presents a sense of threat or urgency. Malware emails often want to entice fear in the recipient to get them to quickly perform an action. 

For instance, you might receive an email stating that you’ve failed to pay an invoice. Or, you might receive an urgent email stating that you need to log into your bank account to deal with a fraud attempt.

Any email that is urgent should be questioned. When in doubt, always call to follow up before ever clicking on any links or performing any actions requested in the email. 

The Email is too Good to Be Real

Have you ever received an email with a lucrative offer that’s too hard to pass up? As enticing as that may sound, these types of emails usually have malware attached to it. Be wary of emails that promise a huge profit without much investment on your company’s end. 

Malware Prevention Best Tips

Malware comes in many forms, but there are preventive measures that businesses can take to protect their companies. Here are three malware preventions tips:

1. Invest in Antivirus and Anti-Spyware Software

Installing antivirus and anti-spyware software is a great line of defence against malware attacks. These programs scan computer files to remove malware and protect your data.

It’s essential to keep your antivirus and anti-spyware software updated at all times. Additionally, businesses should audit files for missing data, errors, and unauthorized activity.

2. Develop Secure Authentication Methods

Practising secure authentication methods is one of the best ways to keep data safe. When businesses rely on more secure authentication, it becomes difficult for cybercriminals to hack sensitive data. Here are three ways you can improve data safety: 

  • Strong Passwords: All passwords should be at least eight characters and include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, a number, and a special character.
  • Multifactor Authentication: Companies should also enable multifactor authentication. In addition to a password, a business may require employees to input a PIN or answer security questions.
  • Biometrics Tools: Businesses can rely on biometrics tools like fingerprints, voiceprints, and facial recognition for more secure login. 

3. Integrate Email Security and Spam Protection

Emailing is a common form of communication between businesses. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most common ways cybercriminals target companies. 

The best way to reduce the risk of infection is to integrate email security and spam protection. For instance, businesses should have a process to scan incoming emails for malware. It’s also a good idea to set spam filters to prevent unwanted emails from landing in your inbox. 

Protect Your Business from Cyberattacks

It’s never a good idea to leave your business vulnerable to malware attacks. Cyberattacks are on the rise, but companies can implement the appropriate steps to minimize their risk of vulnerabilities. The first step to building a secure IT infrastructure for your business is gaining awareness. Arrange a free cyber threat analysis today.