Most businesses are now aware of the threat that malware poses – both in terms of data security but also their bottom line. There’s also the negative PR that follows a company once a breach has been revealed.

However, there’s no catch-all solution to protect against malware – most notably because it isn’t a single entity. The term ‘malware’ is more of a catch-all, encompassing a whole array of different ways that cyber criminals can try to get access to your data.

Here are some of the most common malware tools that you should consider protecting against.

Viruses are perhaps the most well-known, having been around in one form or another for decades. These malicious pieces of code can wipe systems or render them useless, and even pass on to other devices (through so-called Worms) so they can wreak the same havoc there.

Viruses are most typically transferred through downloading files that claim to be something else, or by opening attachments sent by email. Many of these fake files are Trojans, which can even allow hackers to access a device remotely – taking the files from it, logging keystrokes to ascertain passwords, or even accessing the webcam.

Though dangerous, some of these more traditional computer viruses have become less commonplace in recent years, as cyber criminals turn instead to something that can generate them relatively quick and easy revenue…

Ransomware is a tool that locks and encrypts entire datasets, so the impacted business can no longer access them. A ransom is then issued (typically tens of thousands of pounds for enterprise attacks, payable through cryptocurrency) for the ‘safe’ return of data.

This is particularly effective as businesses are pressurised into paying the ransom quickly, or risk having their files deleted. However, the guidance for businesses hit with a ransomware attack is to never pay up – mostly because the malware is often so poorly written that files are often scrambled to the point of uselessness even after the payment has been made and they’ve been unencrypted.

With hackers using any combination of the above malware (or, indeed, others), businesses need to be sure their systems protect against all types of hack. Any one weakness could open the door to cyber criminals, which may come at a real, tangible cost.