Even though many professionals prefer Macs for handling their daily chores, Windows PC holds the mass market share.
It is easy to say, the mass market product connected to the internet defends against the lion’s share of cyberattacks. From malware to ransomware, minor bugs to phishing attacks, Windows gets it all. But a little care goes a long way.
This article at TechKnowledge will talk about the top 5 Windows threats limiting your organization’s true IT potential.
Most of the cyberattacks we face nowadays are advanced. Privacy and security today are no joke. One RubberDucky in your company computer can easily affect the whole network. How do we make sure to fall under these threats? The easiest way is to know more about these threats and be prepared.
Typically, the image we have of ransomware is our files being encrypted, and a ransom note is placed on the desktop via mail. That mail includes links to get off the ransomware threat, but we format the hard drive in most cases anyway.
Some ransomware groups operate as ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS). According to RaaS networks, they target specific sectors such as healthcare or other critical industries. Today, the ransomware ecosystem has grown tenfold, and it is easy to outsource an attack via third parties.
Security research firm Sophos reported on a group that builds and leases ransomware services to specialists for “virtual breaking and entering.” The ransomware landscape has changed “in ways we couldn’t predict.”
Our next point briefly discusses malware & virus statics, which are relatively calm compared to ransomware attacks.
Malware & viruses
Malware & viruses easily make up our top 5 windows threats list as they are the most common against our computers. According to SonicWall’s Cyber Threat Report 2020, the number of malware attacks declined for the first time since 2016. SonicWall detected 9.9 million malware attacks in 2019 compared to 10.5 million in the previous year.
Even though new variants are decreasing yearly, the number is still huge. In 2020, approximately 5.6 billion malware attacks took place. There are over 40 malware families identified by CCleaner, Mirai, Emoted. Together they identified over 172 million randomly-generated domains to spread malware.
Standard ports such as port 80 are the primary target for malware and viruses. Even though malware & viruses declined 43 percent over the year, ransomware was up about 62 percent, while IoT malware saw a 66 percent increase.
Drivers & Windows update
Let’s face it, we all encounter unexpected driver or windows updates from time to time. we see people making fun of the Windows update mechanism slowing down computers in their time of need. Peripherals not working, occasional bugs, wired disconnections, and issues could cause outdated drives.
It is such an issue that individual users to IT admins fail to check driver updates from time to time. We’ve seen vulnerability and exploits coming through outdated drivers, and there is an easy way around.
Peripheral manufacturers ship their products with default drivers. It is up to the users to properly check for the latest versions. Sometimes fully functional computers are thrown into the garbage due to the lack of simple knowledge of which driver to fix.
If unsure, installing any reupdated driver manager or properly updating the system is the way. Popular antivirus and malware programs come built-in with driver checkers. Proper rollouts should be considered, and updates should be made regularly.
Don’t forget hardware upgrades
When was your organization last updated the whole computing ecosystem or upgraded peripherals? It may be overlooked but can bring considerable benefits to the entire IT system. Using old computers with lower grade components might dull the performance of the whole IT staff.
Guess what? Organizational IT systems and government bodies, airports, financial institutions, transportation, critical infrastructure, and many others use outdated peripherals and components to run their services. It may save them money but upgrading to a faster computer can make the workflow efficient.
It is not like organizations have to upgrade components at every generation, but making the process as frequent as possible is recommended. We have a saying, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” while it may sound satisfying, it is pretty tedious on the flip side. According to Moore’s law, transistors in a dense integrated circuit (IC) double every two years. This means our tech is becoming faster, more efficient, and cheaper.
Spam & encryption
While many could make the top 5 Windows threats, we chose this due to the priority ranking. Raging against spammers will only increase blood pressure. We could concentrate on our blood pressure raised by spammers if the IT system was not complex, but as it is, we will have to keep our minds elsewhere.
According to Sophos 2022 Threat Report, spammers use “shotgun attack” to spam. They spam everyone in their contact list literally without pinpointing any specific target. The next time you’re receiving spam mail, mute it, report it and delete it. It is not targeted; chances are some services you used gave out the information. But clicking on spam messages is the devastating part. Never interact with spam messages. Sometimes valid mails come to the spam folder, which is quite apparent.
Encryption, on the other hand, is relatively straightforward. When targeted by ransom attacks, we see files being encrypted. With all the extraordinary means encryption has brought us, one of the downsides.
For these ignorable yet straightforward reasons, IT staff and the whole organization must take basic threat protection training. It doesn’t’ only guarantee the company’s safety and sustainability in the tech world but helps everyone grow as an individual.
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