Cybersecurity 101: What's the Difference of Malware vs Spyware

Cybersecurity 101: What's the Difference of Malware vs Spyware

Do you own a small to medium-sized company? Did you know that on average, a cyberattack will cost you $200,000 to repair? 

If you own a business that relies on IT and internet networks to function, then you will want to keep reading to know all about the present-day threats to you and your business. It's important to be up to date and aware of the things that could negatively affect your business in order to act proactively instead of acting reactively in situations.

There are many types of cyberattacks that can happen to you, and unfortunately, most are targetted at small to medium-sized companies. The reason for this is that these companies typically don't take the time to properly secure their networks.

Malware and spyware are two of the most common cyberattacks that can happen to you. Keep reading to find out the differences between malware vs spyware and the benefits of hiring managed cybersecurity to protect your business.

What Is Malware?

Malware is a general term that applies to any and all software that has malicious intent for the user. Its purpose and design is to attack your company's tech by destroying your data and resources. This will put a damper on your business activities by slowing down your systems and causing errors.

This type of cyberattack can be delivered to your systems by email, when you install software, or even when you're surfing the web. These cyberattacks have a way of getting into any vulnerable business network.

Types of Malware

Have you ever received an email from a supposed Prince asking for financial help? Or maybe a lawyer emailed you about a long lost relative who's left you a lot of money? Maybe a subscription service telling you your payment bounced and to click here to correct it?

Did you know these are more than likely potential malware infections?

Usually in those types of instances like mentioned above, you would be asked to click on a link which would then force a download onto your computer either visibly or invisibly, and infecting your computer. Meanwhile, the type and severity of the infection that you've downloaded varies.

There are many types of malware out there that could affect your business. Some examples of common malware are spyware, viruses, Trojan horses, spam & phishing, and ransomware.

Some malware will make your computer and network completely inoperable by shutting it down. Other malware, like ransomware, for example, will basically hold your systems hostage in exchange for a fee to be paid to them to release it.

As time goes on, the hackers that release such things into the cyberworld will get more and more creative trying to infect your network and computers.

What Is Spyware?

Spyware is one type of malware that can attack your company.

The purpose of spyware is to collect your business's information without you knowing about it and selling it to a third party. We're sure you can see how detrimental this can be if your business collects and deals with sensitive information. 

Spyware can be best described as a 'hitchhiker' type of malware because it will install itself on vulnerable computers without anyone knowing or realizing it. Once it gets a hold of access to your computer, it will begin to collect your data and sell it off to third parties.

The type of data the spyware will collect are logins and passwords, saved credit card info, monitoring communications, along with monitoring your keystrokes, which is referred to as keylogging when you're using your computer. 

Malware vs Spyware: Which Is Worse?

We're sure it's needless to say at this point, that anything that infects your network and computer isn't a good thing, and staying protected against these things should be a priority.

Since malware is an umbrella term when it comes to cyberattacks, the malware vs spyware debate is hard to have since one is part of the other. 

Spyware is a type of malware so by saying spyware is worse, we are still concluding that malware is also of the same level. At the end of the day, you definitely don't want either of these issues popping up on your business computers and network.

The costs attached to fixing all the damage that a cyberattack can do when your infected with malware are extremely high. The last thing you want to worry about is possible bankruptcy let along lawsuits because of a cyberattack. 

How Do I Protect Myself?

Being proactive is the most important thing you can do for yourself and your network. Looking into anti-malware software on the market, security monitoring software, or even going as far as hiring a company to do all this for you are all options.

Whether you're trying to go at cybersecurity solo, or you're looking into hiring a company, you will come across security monitoring software. This software will scan your computer and network for potential threats and files that are present. It may also even scan emails for you to detect any issues or potential threats that may be attached.

A good rule of thumb when it comes to questionable emails and websites is to just not click them. If you receive an email where you aren't sure who the sender is, just delete it and do not open it. You may also want to report this to your IT department if you have one.

Other times, you may receive an email that looks pretty legitimate. It could likely be notifying you that a payment bounced and to reconfirm your credit card. Your best bet is to check the sender's email to verify that it is the actual company sending you this notification and not a scammer. 

If you do find out that this was a scam email, you can contact the company they are trying to impersonate and report the fraud to them. Most companies will have an investigative IT team who will make sure that these are hunted down and stopped. The company can also confirm for you whether this treat was infected with malware or not.

Be sure to never download any items off the internet where you can't verify the source, or if they come from questionable websites. They may likely be corrupted files that will infect your computer and network. Check with your IT department before making any decisions.

Why Hire Someone To Manage Cybersecurity

The last thing you want to be doing is being on the hook for a privacy breach lawsuit on top of costs to fix the damage from a cyberattack. Hiring someone to manage your cybersecurity can definitely be a proactive and beneficial step in making sure neither of those things happens.

A good cybersecurity company will help you in setting up anti-malware software on your computer and networks in order to protect them. They will also walk you through good cybersecurity practices, and some may even go as far as monitoring your network and running daily scans of your systems to detect any threats.

Most cybersecurity companies will offer a wide variety of services, not just securing your network. They can help you with network and common troubleshooting issues, and make your IT setups for new hires quicker and more efficient.

When it comes to cybersecurity, it's best to leave it in the hands of the pros! After all, would you trust a doctor or someone who just reads medical texts online to help you with an illness? Why wouldn't you look at your computers and networks in the same way?

Malware vs Spyware? Secure Yourself From Cyberattacks

By now you should know the differences between malware vs spyware as well as a couple of tips to protect you and your business from a few potential cyberattacks.

There are plenty of benefits to being proactive in securing your business from cyberattacks both financially and from security aspects. Avoiding business interruption, privacy breaches, and spending thousands of dollars on repairs and lawyers can definitely be avoided.

Just like having an alarm system and company make sure that your business is safe and secure while you're there and when you're away, doing the same for your network will be just as beneficial and protective of your assets.

Be sure to schedule a meeting today with a reputable IT company that will help you discuss what is and isn't necessary to get your company secured and protected against any potential attacks.  

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