Threats to modern organizations and individuals come from a variety of sources. In a world that is more reliant on technology each year, often those threats present themselves virtually. Among those threats are various types of malware, launched by criminals and cyber attackers and affecting millions of individuals and businesses each year. Repercussions from a cyber attack vary in severity but can include data loss, damaged devices, and files and information that are either encrypted until a ransom is paid or destroyed completely. Spyware represents only a portion of malware attacks, but protecting against it is critical for an organization’s sustainability. That protection begins with first understanding this type of malware and its potential impact.
What is Spyware?
In general, malware refers to any malicious software designed to infiltrate and/or damage a piece of technology or steal information stored within it. Examples of malware include ransomware, viruses, and spyware. Spyware programs are those designed to monitor your devices, providing information to the attackers about you. This can mean everything from gaining access to files stored on the device to monitoring keystrokes to determine passwords for websites and software programs. Often, those launching spyware attacks are hoping for enough personal information to carry out identity theft, which is the most commonly reported consumer complaint in 2021.
Spyware programs make their way onto devices in several ways. Often, they are unintentionally downloaded via a pop-up ad or in phishing email schemes designed to impersonate reputable organizations. Therefore, protection against a spyware attack must rely on a multifaceted approach.
Organizations Impacted by Spyware in 2022
It is easy to dismiss a potential IT threat by falsely believing “it could never happen here.” Unfortunately, these attacks do happen, and quite often. The Center for Strategic and International Studies keeps an updated record of major cyber incidents impacting organizations around the globe. Even just halfway into the current year, there are several major spyware incidents reported. This past spring, cyber attackers launched spyware targeting certain members of the European Commission. That same month, activists and several major political figures in Catalonia were also victims of spyware attacks. While it may seem like cyber criminals prioritize large organizations or public figures for their attacks, it’s important to remember that these criminals exist in very large numbers and not all attacks are on such a large scale. The ones we hear about are the ones that are reported, making documenting attacks a critical step in further preventative efforts. Reporting attacks to the FTC or FBI may seem like a waste of time, especially when the harm done by an attack is limited. However, these organizations rely on the public reporting instances of cyber attacks, so they can better compile cases and better develop protection measures against them.
Among the cybersecurity threats for small businesses, malware – including spyware – is among the top. In fact, 43% of cyber-attacks are targeted at small businesses. And, while most business owners are at least aware of the potential for these attacks, many underestimate the impact one could have on their organization. A cyber attack often results in downtime as networks are secured, malware removed, and new devices implemented. Downtime for any business is costly. With the cost of halting operations combined with bringing in IT experts to address the issue and a number of other costs associated with an attack, the median cost of an attack for small and medium-sized businesses is $17,000 in the United States.
That type of unexpected cost can be devastating to a small organization, in many cases resulting in business closure. Rather than wait for an attack to occur, investing in preventative measures now is a much more reasonable approach – and a much less costly one as well.
Protecting a Business from Spyware
There are nearly infinite reasons why a business wouldn’t want spyware affecting any of their devices or networks – most regarding the security of information belonging to the business, the employees, and their customers. Cyber attackers continue to sophisticate their approach year after year, so business owners need to be intentional about taking proactive steps to protect this information from cyber criminals as part of their overall IT management.
A solid IT and cybersecurity plan starts with experts knowledgeable on best practices as well as up-to-date on the latest cyber schemes and how to best defend against them. Most small businesses don’t employ this expertise in-house and choose to partner with a trusted team of industry experts instead. Kustura Technologies and its team of dedicated professionals bring decades of experience and a commitment to excellence in all of our IT services. Our cybersecurity solutions come with continuous expert support and guidance both when IT is functioning normally and when issues arise.
When it comes to defending against spyware, Kustura offers business-level security systems and solutions. We can craft a protection plan based on your company’s needs, protecting company, employee, and client data as well as all network communications. We monitor client networks 24/7, noting vulnerabilities and implementing solutions to keep you protected from cyber threats at all times.
Whether you are worried about spyware, other forms of malware, or simply want to improve IT operations within your organization, the team at Kustura Technologies can help. Contact us today to discuss your needs and take the first step in streamlining IT operations and keeping your business protected!
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