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Viruses and Worms, and Trojans, Oh My!

Viruses, worms, and Trojans are all types of malicious software (malware) that hackers use to steal data, financial information, and wreak havoc on your company’s network.

Viruses are malware programs that typically spread via users downloading email attachments, file sharing, and visiting infected websites. When the infected program runs, it self-replicates and begins affecting your system, including files, macros, scripts, and even boot sectors.

Worms are another type of malware. Unlike viruses that require users to trigger a host program, worms don’t need anyone to run or copy the infectious file, nor do they even require a host program or file. They self-replicate, spreading automatically through networks and the internet, and running wild. Worms are primarily used to steal financial information and business data.

A third type of malware is the Trojan. Unlike viruses and worms, Trojans cannot replicate themselves–you have to launch them. They are named after the fabled Trojan horse, which Greek soldiers used to sneak into the city of Troy and win the Trojan War. Trojans are designed to look like legitimate links or software, so you will click and run them on your device–at which point the Trojan begins stealing data or damaging your network. Hackers use Trojans almost exclusively to open network backdoors in order to steal, edit, change, or encrypt data.

To protect your business against malware, be sure to use an internet security program, including regular automatic scans. Keep operating systems up-to-date, especially all security patches, and use firewalls. Back up files regularly in case you need to restore data. Also, train employees to use complex passwords, avoid unsafe websites, and avoid clicking on questionable email links, downloading programs from unverified publishers, and clicking on pop-up windows promising helpful, free programs.

The experts with NSC Information Technology Group can help you keep your network and operating systems up-to-date. We can also help you formulate an appropriate file backup system and a disaster recovery plan. We can also train your employees in a best-practices approach to passwords, internet browsing, email security, and distinguishing safe and unsafe links and attachments.

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