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How to Defend Against Malware-Induced Data Theft

Downloaded something sketchy online? Pop-up pandemonium might mean malware has invaded your device, putting your data at risk. Learn how to fight back and protect your information!

Have you ever unwittingly downloaded something from an untrustworthy website, only to find your device bombarded with numerous pop-ups? Chances are, you may have fallen victim to malware. Cybercriminals adeptly conceal these malicious software entities within downloadable files scattered across the internet. While a malware infection might initially seem like a minor inconvenience, it can lead to catastrophic consequences for your cybersecurity, with data theft being one of the more significant risks. 

So, how can you safeguard against data theft if you’ve been trapped by malware? Read on to discover effective strategies.

Understanding Malware

Malware encompasses a variety of malicious software designed to exploit networks, devices, or services. Common types include viruses, trojan horses, spyware, worms, and botnets, the latter being networks of compromised devices controlled remotely by cybercriminals. Malware spreads through various vectors, including clicking on malicious links, downloading infected attachments, using unsecured Wi-Fi networks, or plugging in infected USB drives. Once infiltrated, malware can execute attacks such as spamming inboxes, encrypting files for ransom, spying on user activity, and compromising personal data.

Once infected, the malware in the system can launch attacks like:

  • Spamming your inbox with pop-up ads and emails to lure you into phishing schemes
  • Encrypting your files and demanding ransom payment for decryption
  • Spying on your activity and stealing passwords, usernames, and other personal data. According to a 2022 Norton Lifelock survey titled Share of Internet users who have been impacted by spyware, 80% of Internet users have been impacted by spyware.
  • Slowing computer performance, disrupting systems due to DDoS attacks, or deleting files.

Statistics and Trends

The 2023 Statista research titled Number of malware attacks per year states that the number of worldwide malware attacks have reached 5.5 billion across the globe in 2022. This number is significantly lower than in 2018 (10.5 billion), which means that people have become more aware and careful of malware. The same research stated that the education sector was the most targeted in 2022. The following is partly because educational establishments are more likely to pay a larger ransom to decrypt the data affected by malware.

Malware and Data Theft Connection

Data theft, specifically through spyware, is the most common consequence of malware. This type of malware operates secretly, with 89% of victims unaware their system is infected according to Norton Lifelock. Both individuals and institutions are targets. Massive data breaches can occur when organizations are impacted.

A data breach is an incident where numerous data and personal information are acquired by an unauthorized person. A data breach can carry disastrous consequences. It can range from reputational, financial, and legal damages to businesses. Individuals impacted by a data breach may also experience identity theft and distress. It highlights how crucial it is to protect your data, even after an instance of malware attack.

Protecting Against Data Theft

Websites such as https://haveibeenpwned.com/ let you see whether or not your email address has been involved in data breach cases. If there is an indication that it has, you do not have to panic. Follow the steps below to secure your data:

  • Change your password. Changing your password is one quick way to ensure that fraudsters cannot use the stolen data to log in to your accounts.
  • Enable multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) provides an extra layer of security for your accounts. MFA prevents fraudsters from simply using their stolen password to access your accounts.
  • Cross-check your financial information. Do you see suspicious purchases made in your account that you did not make? If so, report it to authorities and your bank.
  • Implement True Identity Assurance by ASLI RI to ensure a secure identity verification process, shielding fraudsters and cybercriminals using stolen data to access services.

As a business, developing a plan to prevent and mitigate the consequences of a data breach is also crucial. Data theft can be mitigated by implementing a more secure identity verification process for your customers. That ensures that if your customer becomes a victim of a data breach, fraudsters cannot use the stolen data to access your business’ services. Investing in a proper identity verification process ensures that your business complies with cybersecurity guidelines.

If you’re interested to learn more about data breach mitigation for individuals and businesses, we have an in-depth article on that. Click here to read it.

Malware Can Cause Mayhem, Fortify Your Digital Security Now!

A sure way to prevent malware attacks is to use a trusted antivirus provider. You can conduct your research on which software can suit and benefit your needs in malware prevention. As an added layer of security, ASLI RI has developed an all-in-one system that can mitigate the consequences of data theft due to malware. Create a safer digital landscape with us! Visit www.asliri.id to learn more about our products.

Last modified: February 7, 2024