Malware Protection & Attacks

How to Protect from Malware Attacks

Protect from malware attacksHow to Protect from Malware

Protecting your company data is the most critical task your IT department has. This team of specialists works tirelessly to keep out intruders only to have their coworkers inadvertently let them differently. While your business may have many safeguards in place to catch and clean up these mistakes, there are ways to prevent malware attacks before they happen. Protect from malware attacks ? How?

Additional Layers of Security

You may think your employees are the most vigilant in the world, and they may very well be. However, without a layered security system in place, cyberattacks can still break through. Your business needs an extensive security suite of antivirus, firewalls, and antimalware software to help keep out unwanted visitors.

Using Updates and Plugins

One of the easiest ways for a hacker to attack your infrastructure is through holes in your company’s software. Whether it is the operating system, internet browsers, or mobile devices, keeping titles up to date is one of the most important things you can do to protect corporate data.

Browsers, operating systems, and plugins often receive regular security patches from their manufacturers. It is easy for you to push them off and let them wait until a more convenient time for your employees. However, by doing so, you are cracking a door for intruders to exploit. Once the updates roll out, act immediately to ensure the best coverage. Immediate action is doubly true for mobile devices which often get up off due to low storage or battery power.

On web browsers, ensure all employees enable the click-to-play plugin. Many attackers use the ads to install their viruses on to unsuspecting computers. These ads autoplay and often found on well-known sites. The click-to-play plugin stops Java or Flash ads from running, unless the user clicks on them, helping to reduce the chance of accidental infection.

Safe Browsing

Companies often restrict their employees online browsing abilities. However, even sites that your business has deemed okay for workers to visit need to be used with caution. Employees should do the following every time they go on the internet.

  • Log out of websites when finished: It does not matter if it is a social media site you regularly use to update information for the company or a banking site you use to check your balance during lunch, always log out. Hackers with the right skills can use your browser’s cookies to gain access to places you remained logged into.
  • Use Secure Connections: Sites with padlocks to the left of the URL provide a secure connection between your system and the website server. This added encryption helps to protect against intrusions in the data stream.
  • Strong Passwords: Don’t use passwords that are easy to guess such as birthdates, pets’ names, or anniversaries. Passwords should contain upper and lower cases letters as well as numbers and special characters. For optimal protection, you need a different password for each site you log into.

Other Important Tips

Most employees defer to their local IT department in the event of a computer malfunction. It is the best practice because you know that the gurus of IT are going to clean the system without infecting it further. However, for employees who work from home, having access to the local IT department might not be a feasible option. These workers are more likely to be taken in by fake tech support numbers that may appear on the screen when their system gets infected. Corporations can help by making sure all employees, home-based and onsite, have access to the correct contact for software and hardware support.

Also, educate your workers on phishing and spoofing scams that may appear in their inboxes. It is essential that you remind them never to call the institution the message is from to verify authenticity before using links. Learning how to spot phony messages can protect both your company and individual workers from data loss.

Malware attacks can happen to any business, big or small. Taking steps to protect your infrastructure and training your employees on safe practices can curtail any malicious intrusions. Even the most secure systems can still be successfully attacked, so in addition to education and layered security, you should also backup your data. CloudAlly offers complete backup and recovery solutions for Office 365, G Suite and Salesforce, allowing you to quickly recover data in the event of a malware attack.

Microsoft Video: Malware Attacks

Office 365 Malware Protection

Malware Protection For Office 365

Malware Protection For Office 365Malware Protect:

Concerned about the safety of your data in Office 365? Sure, the program has built-in malware designed to protect emails and documents automatically from malware. Specifically, malware protection in Office 365 has innate filtering capacities designed to protect your data from malicious attacks. But is the native Office 365 antivirus enough to protect all your users’ data from attack?


Malware Threats

First, let’s take a step back and talk about the increasing sophistication of virus attack. Malware is a huge problem today, with a host of novel attacks originating in countries around the world. For example, Iran has an increasing degree of state-sponsored hacking, including stealing information and mounting tens of thousands of malware attacks on computers across the Middle East. Malware attacks are getting more and more sophisticated, and as hackers increase in complexity, it can be difficult to stay ahead.

Innate Office 365 Features

The Office 365 malware detection response can react to many types of attacks. Office 365’s built-in malware protection features include:

ATP Safe Links

One of the most effective native protective features in Office 365 is the Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) protection. ATP lets you set preferences and policies for individuals and groups to ensure your workplace is protected from malware. One of the most effective of the ATP programs is the safe links feature, which stops users from clicking on virus-filled hyperlinks.

Office 365 Backup

Safe links works by filtering documents and emails that include hyperlinks through Exchange Online Protection, which includes signature-based malware protection, filters, and IP and envelope filters. Then, if a user clicks on a hyperlink either in an email or a document, safe link determines if the website is safe before redirecting a user to it.

This is where your personalization of ATP safe links comes in. You can set up a list of custom blocked URLs, either for everyone at the company or only certain users, and, if a user tries to click on a hyperlink in this list, he or she will be blocked from accessing the website.

SharePoint Online Malware Protection

Office 365 and SharePoint Online both use a virus detection engine that scans files for viruses when they are uploaded. If a virus is found by the engine, the infected file is flagged so it cannot be downloaded again. Later, if another user tries to download the infected file from SharePoint Online, he or she is warned that a virus has been detected. If they choose, then, they can download the file and clean it using their personal virus software.

Malware Analysis

If you’re concerned that a file may be infected with a virus, Microsoft offers a service that lets you upload a file to see if it is infected. The submission portal will scan your file to let you know if your file is normal or if it is a threat.

Third-Party Office 365 Protection

Because of the increasingly multi-national sophistication of malware attacks, the malware protection in Office 365 is effective, but unlikely to protect you from all types of malware threats. Some of the limited malware protection capabilities of Office 365 include its inability to scan for malware in real time and its failure to differentiate between graymail and spam. These limitations have already spurred some businesses to turn to non-native security programs to better protect their Office 365 data.

Microsoft also recommends that you back up your Office 365 in case your emails or documents are corrupted by a malware attack. CloudAlly’s Office 365 Exchange Backup automatically backs up your mail, calendar, contacts, and tasks daily so if you encounter malicious activity, you’ll still be able to recover the information you need.

Protect Your Data: The Difference Between Malware, Adware, and Spyware

Short for malicious software, malware comes in many varieties of forms. Viruses and worms, named because of their ability to quickly spread through your system by digging in deep and making copies of themselves, are probably two of the best-known malware types, which is why malware protection is needed.

Malware vs Ransomware

Another well-known malware is the Trojan which infects your computer secretly, coming in through a perceived safe link or website. Like viruses, this malware infects your computer sometimes to the point of having to reset the entire system.

Malware began with the dawn of the internet. In the past, software creators of this nature were a few high school computer gurus blowing off steam and playing pranks on unsuspecting visitors. However, criminals who are looking for ways to make easy money engineer today’s malicious software.

Some ways malware infects your computer are:

  • Visiting an infected website
  • Clicking on an infected pop-up
  • Opening an unknown, infected email attachment
  • Visiting an infected link sent via email
  • Downloading files off the internet without running an antivirus scan on them first

A new virus, known as ransomware, locks users out of their systems entirely. Once locked out the infected party must either pay the infector a fee to resume use of their computer or completely reset the drive, a complete reset results in loss of all data and applications that were not initially on the unit at the time of purchase. Failure to pay the ransom results in the same damage.


Adware is slightly different. While benign in comparison to other malware, this software can still be an annoying leech on your computer’s resources.

Companies across the globe use Adware to track your movements online and display ads that are relevant to your browsing experience. In most cases, adware will not do any damage to your computer nor will it steal personal information. It is merely a tool used by marketing consultants to put relevant ads where you see them.

In most cases, adware works with your knowledge. Most sites alert you to the fact they are collecting information about your interests for this purpose. However, on occasion, sites install this software without your knowledge. When this happens, the benign software has crossed into malware territory and leaves you vulnerable to further attacks.

Programmers sometimes use adware to fund their program development. They bundle ads with free software and deactivate the advertisements once the user purchases or registers the title. Use of ads is standard practice for free mobile applications.

Adware is tricky to remove. As most titles are only marketing tools, antivirus software sometimes overlooks these programs.


A type of malware, spyware is far more insidious than most other types. While viruses and trojans are problematic and can shut down your system, spyware tracks your every move. Each keystroke and mouse click is then relayed back to a third-party without your knowledge.

The big problem with spyware is the fact it is hard to detect. Anti-virus software may be able to stop installation or remove already installed versions. However, if your anti-virus does not have an anti-spyware bundled with, it may overlook these programs.

Spyware can infect your computer many ways. In some cases, it is installed by visiting an infected website or opening an infected link or attachment sent via email. Most spyware comes from downloading software from file-sharing sites. Hackers who put free movies or music files on these websites bundle their spyware alongside so you do not know it is downloading.

Indicators that your system has a spyware infection include:

  • Searches redirect you to a different search engine
  • Random error messages during routine operations that previously worked
  • Unidentifiable or new icons appearing on the taskbar

Spyware allows the third-party owner not only to see what you are doing, but gain access to your usernames, passwords, and bank and credit card account numbers.

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself – Malware Protection !

Companies often have several layers of protection to keep malicious files out using firewalls and anti-virus software. However, from time to time, an email or website can get through the company shielding allowing malicious software through.

The first step for both large and small businesses is to educate employees on the different methods a malware, spyware, or adware infection occurs. Employees need to know how to spot a suspicious email and whom to contact within IT to prevent future attacks.

In addition to education, your company should have backup redundancies in place to protect sensitive data. Having a backup of essential files allows IT technicians to reset infected computers without worrying about losing information.

Storing files locally is one option. However, the local backups must be kept off the internal network to prevent potential corruption or infection from malicious attacks. The use of cloud storage helps protect documents while keeping them off local network which could potentially be damaged through a single computer infection. When choosing a cloud service provider, check for their security protocol to ensure the safety of your data from hackers who may use rants somewhere to attack your company in this manner.

It is also a good idea to back up your backups. If you store items locally, you should also store them in the cloud. Cloud providers should also be backed up using services such as offered by CloudAlly. Our service allows you to backup files stored in OneDrive, Box, and Google Drive. It also enables you to backup sensitive emails for those using G Suite or Office 365.

Education, protective software, and backups are essential to protecting your company from malicious attacks.