It’s all over the news channels; data breaches and hackers wreaking havoc. Cybersecurity threats are everywhere, and it doesn’t help that there are multiple kinds of threats designed to attack in various ways.
Here’s a quick overview of the different types of malware and threats that every law firm should know about, and the sort of damage they can cause:
- Viruses: This threat is actually a computer program that is designed to infect other programs in order to spread. Side effects include altering your data in some way, either by stealing it, corrupting it, or completely deleting it, all usually without you noticing.
- Spyware: This cybersecurity threat provides a hacker with an inside peek into a victim’s systems. It would allow them to design a specific attack that is more likely to succeed, based on the behaviors and habits of a user.
- Computer Worm: As computer worms inch their way through your network, they infect as many of your devices as possible, including phones, tablets, computers, and servers. Encouraged by the amount connections the typical PC has to the outside, they try to spread its malware payload to as large a radius as possible. Side effects include usability of your systems, as they copy themselves until your disk space and bandwidth are at capacity.
- Rootkit: When accidentally installed, a rootkit provides administrator access to a computer or network, which allows them to install more malicious programs or change vital settings on the computer to render it useless.
- Trojan Horse: Named after the wooden horse of ancient Greece, this type of threat contains malicious bits of code that are disguised as a legitimate computer program. Once inside your device, side effects include the introduction a keylogger to capture typed passwords on your computer or manipulation of a webcam.
- Keylogger: These are malicious programs that record the keystrokes a user creates on their keyboard. They are extremely useful for hackers who are trying to gather login credentials for their target’s accounts, such as bank accounts or email accounts.
- Phishing: This method of attack is used to gather credentials from their targets, in which the malicious user tricks the victim by impersonation. Most often, this is demonstrated by email scams that have links to malicious websites with sign-in forms that offer appear legit. A phisher might take a direct approach and pose as a trustworthy person through email correspondence, asking for passwords or providing unsafe website links.
- Botnet: This threat is comprised of a web of interconnected computers that are infected and controlled by the malware distributor. Often called “zombie computers”, these computers are then used to further other attacks.
- DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service): These attacks are often the most damaging, as botnets and other types of malware are combined and assault a system with a large amount of traffic until it is rendered unusable, or temporarily disabled. While the system is trying to keep up with the amount of traffic, the hacker can steal any data they please.
- Exploit: This threat takes advantage of a particular, unpatched vulnerability in a system. By regularly updating your system, you can cut down on the amount of these attacks, but vigilance is the best way to stay ahead.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of every single cybersecurity threat out there, but it reinforces the fact that legal practices need to pay attention to their technology. Since we rely so heavily on technology to run our businesses, it makes it all the more important to know that you’re protected and can easily recover from the disasters these malicious programs can cause.
If you think that you’ve been infected by one or more of these 10 cybersecurity threats, definitely alert your IT firm and make sure you have the proper antivirus in place.
Here at Encompass IT, we provide enterprise-grade antivirus and remote monitoring services to protect your law firm.