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Talking Shop: How to Protect Your Small Business from Malware

When running a small business, there are many things that must be focused. Make sales, find new customers and motivate your employees among them; however, keeping your business safe from cyber attacks might take precedence over everything.

That’s because if you are a victim of a cyber attack, you might be out of business altogether. Cyber ​​attacks on small businesses can be crippling. Research shows that 60% of small businesses that are victims of cyber attacks are out of business within six months.

One specific type of cyber attack business that needs attention is malware. Malware is a general term that describes any malicious program or code that is harmful to a company’s system, said Akshay Bhargava, senior vice president of products for Malwarebytes.
Akshay Bhargava

“Malware attempts to attack, destroy, or deactivate computers, computer systems, networks, tablets and cellular devices, often by taking partial control of device operations,” said Bhargava. “Like human flu, it interferes with normal function.”

We recently talked to Bhargava about malware, how it can affect small businesses and how artificial intelligence and machine learning make it more difficult than ever to detect and combat this growing threat. [Are you in the market for internet security software for your company? See our best choices and reviews.]
Increased malware threats for SMEs
Q: How does malware affect small businesses?

A: Small businesses are very vulnerable to threats because they often do not have the resources for products or a broad security team such as larger companies. This is arguably more important for small businesses to protect themselves, because, unfortunately, when these organizations are exposed to malware, it can completely cripple, or end, their business.

In fact, 43% of data violations come from small businesses, according to the 2019 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report. This means SMEs must fight and do more with less.

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The use of personal mobile devices for business use further complicates risks for SMEs. This device gives cyber criminals additional points to enter the organization. Only by opening an email on a mobile device, unsuspecting employees can open the door to critical violations, endangering organizational information, including customer and employee data.

Securing this endpoint with the right policies, protocols and tools for protection is very important. Many small businesses believe that they are too small to be targeted by criminals, but what happens is the opposite. Cybercriminals often target these organizations because SMEs often lack sophisticated and layered security practices, making it easier to get sensitive data they hold.
Q: How does artificial intelligence and machine learning affect the type of malware used by cyber criminals?

A: Today, understanding cyber criminals have realized that they can take advantage of AI and machine learning to develop automated and evolving viruses. This allows the virus to change and avoid detection for a longer period of time when the virus spreads throughout the network and infects new devices. Like human viruses, this is very dangerous when they “evolve,” or changing their code becomes more difficult to resist and prevent.

Criminals use machine learning and AI to do many things throughout the life of an attack, such as gathering information about targets, imitating approved users, carrying out actual attacks, and automating exploitation activities.
Q: Does this type of malware pose a greater threat to business than traditional malware?

A: Of course. This malware is far more difficult to detect in real time because it always changes its signature. To detect this threat, we need to fight fire with fire.

In Malwarebytes, we have used a machine learning component that detects malware that has never been seen before in the wild, also known as zero-day. In addition, other components of our software perform behavior-based heuristic detection, which means they may not recognize certain codes as dangerous, but they have determined that a file or website acts in a way that should not be done. This technology is also based on AI and machine learning.
Protect your SMB – and you – from malware attacks
Q: What can small businesses do to protect themselves from hackers and malware?

A: Apart from the significant strength that SME vulnerabilities have for attackers, there are a number of simple solutions to prevent them from becoming problematic:

Use a layered security approach. Deploy complementary products that leave no gap for cyber criminals to be exploited. Look holistically at your current security tools and evaluate how to eliminate gaps using a layered security approach. You must review your organization’s specific needs, but you may want to consider things like endpoint security, encryption, firewalls, and identity and access management.

Patch your system. Basic maintenance can counteract many problems. For example, cyber criminals can easily exploit the default software vulnerabilities on the Windows operating system. These criminals monitor websites to find out the latest general vulnerabilities and exposures (CVE) and then develop software exploits that exploit vulnerabilities.

Train your staff. Invest in regular and ongoing training for your employees to help them recognize the latest security threats, including phishing emails and other social engineering tactics. Also, make sure your first respondent, or those who have access to customer sensitive data or proprietary rights, are experienced in cyber security best practices.

Q: Why do cyber criminals focus on small businesses?

A: SMEs are often more vulnerable than large companies because they usually lack the resources and bandwidth to hire special security teams. Even though they are not as profitable as company targets, they are significantly more vulnerable and offer a significant amount of data compared to target consumers. In addition, small business owners are more likely to pay ransom, because they may not have a backup of their important data.

Small businesses can also be accessed as gateways to larger companies or other small business networks, unlocking bigger prizes for cyber criminals. For example, criminals can spread malware to Inbenta Technologies customer support products, which then allows them to compromise personal data and payment details for thousands of Ticketmaster customers.

Unfortunately, with fewer resources, small businesses also tend to catch criminals targeting them. Criminals feel the risk versus reward ratio is higher when it comes to SMEs.
Q: Besides malware, what types of cyber threats are the most vulnerable for small businesses?

A: To be clear, there are many types of malware, including ransomware, worms, Trojans, cryptomining, spyware, adware, and maliklan. Some of them are really malignant, while others may only drain your system – but all must be dealt with quickly to ensure the business can continue to run efficiently and safely.

Other types of cyber threats that small businesses must prepare to address include distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS), insider threats and employee errors and errors.

Business has become a prime target for criminals, according to Malactic Cyber ​​Crime Tactics and Techniques Report. Compared to Q1 2018, business detection of threats skyrocketed 235%, and according to Accenture, malware is a threat. 1 for the organization, followed by web-based attacks, denial of service and evil insiders.
Quick question
Q: What technology can’t you turn on without it?

A: My cellphone. Being in security has made me hesitate to wear too many items that can be worn like iWatch, but I can’t live without my cellphone. Like many people, I work all the time. My device is part of me, connecting me to personal and corporate applications.

Of course, this is a concern for our chief information security officer, because my device represents the door to Malwarebytes, and it needs to be secured. Every executive I know carries at least one mobile device at any time.

In fact, the average US has eight network devices per person, the number of which is expected to increase to 13 by 2022. Each of these devices is

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ATV ADVENTURE AT TABANAN, BALI

ATV ADVENTURE AT TABANAN, BALI

In mid-May 2019, I was invited to play ATV Bali Beach by Paddy Adventure Bali. Incidentally one of the owners is my brother named Ronald. I used to call him Mas Rony. While waiting to be picked up by Mas Rony, I first jogged along the lines of Seminyak Beach and Double Six Beach. Around 9 am, finally a pickup car from Paddy Adventure to the front of the hotel where I stay in the Seminyak area. The trip to Tabanan from Seminyak itself takes around less than 2 hours. During the trip, we passed through rice fields and traditional villages. Bali’s beautiful and calm natural atmosphere reminds me of the Ubud area. The difference is, in Ubud the natural conditions have been cultivated and development is more developed. Whereas in Tabanan, the landscape of the land is still very natural and development is not as fast as in the area of ​​Ubud.

Tabanan landscape
Around 10 o’clock, we arrive at Paddy Adventure base camp located on the hill. This building consists of 3 main masses, where each mass of the building must be reached by climbing the steps of the stairs. The first is the recipient building where there is an open space that functions as a lobby, as well as a registration room. After filling out the registration form, I go up to the top of the base camp. The second building mass is the restaurant area. Here I was treated to a welcome drink of fresh orange ice while waiting for my turn to ride an ATV. After the turn, I was accompanied by Mas Rony to the ATV area.

In this ATV area there is a locker for storing personal items and bathrooms. Once finished wearing boots and storing items in the locker, Mas and Rony immediately chose which ATV vehicle we would ride. Before plunging into the adventure route, I practice first to get used to the vehicle that I choose. Besides Mas Rony, I will walk along with a large pair of Russian tourists, and two members of the Bali Land Rover. Most of the ATV lanes that we will pass are rice fields which are quite extensive and hilly areas. The first track we passed was in the form of mud and large enough stones at the bottom. This ATV engine does not have power steering, so it must use energy from the entire body to control it. After the muddy area, the road directly goes downhill and we arrive at the asphalt area.

The initial track is quite relaxed, by passing the concrete track in the middle of the rice fields belonging to local residents. The beautiful landscape of Tabanan makes us occasionally stop for photographs. At first I felt uncomfortable with local residents who often met us, this was due to the sound of the ATV engine which was rather noisy. Actually the sound is normal, but because in the paddy field the natural atmosphere is quite calm so it still seems noisy. But not according to my estimates, it turns out the surrounding population is quite friendly. My brother said, the Paddy Adventure guides themselves were local residents too.

Rice field atmosphere in Tabanan

 After passing through the rice fields, the road starts to get steep and muddy. One of them is the road decreases where after reaching below we have to turn right to the right. The condition of the land is quite slippery due to the mud caused by heavy rain throughout the night. Most novice riders don’t want to continue once they see this field. Some even want to jump when an ATV is sliding down. The trick when facing a steep terrain is that we cannot rotate the gas. Simply glide following gravity, and control the ATV with our body weight. Once you get to the bottom, we immediately turn to the right and immediately step on the gas. Not bad enough to trigger adrenaline … In addition, we also pass through a ditch that has a water level up to our knees when we stand in it. Here we don’t need to step on the gas too deep, just second gear and move slowly. The bottom of the trench which is a rock also helps traction on ATV tires.

  After circling the terrain which is quite heavy for 1 hour, we rest in the hilly area. Fresh rural air and a quiet atmosphere is really right for refreshing, far from the heat of the city. While resting, Mas Rony also talked a lot about Paddy Adventure, ATV machines used, and maintenance. Not infrequently the driver who most beginners often fall, even desperate to jump. Aside from being dangerous to the driver itself, this certainly causes the ATV to experience considerable damage. Overall, the selected track is indeed very challenging. Especially in the trench area where the water flow is quite heavy and the weight of ATV is around 300 kg which we must control. But that’s where the adrenaline drives us.