Cybersecurity threats continue to evolve and some don’t need any interaction from you in order to be launched. These growing threats are known as zero-click malware. They require no user interaction and can silently compromise devices and networks, with the ability to execute a range of malicious activities.
Imagine missing a call and ending up with a virus infection. That’s exactly what happened in this WhatsApp breach in 2019. A missed call used a zero day exploit to trigger a spyware injection into a resource in the device’s software.
A more recent threat targets iOS users, initiating when the user receives a message via iMessage. Again, they don’t need to interact with the message in order for the malicious code to execute, and in this case, allow a full device takeover.
The truth is, these are not new tools. They have been in use for many years, even created and sold by legitimate organizations intended for legal use cases. The problem begins and grows with their misuse, spread and evolution.
Like all cyber threats, they keep evolving, and so organizations must keep evolving their strategy for defence; an area many small businesses fall behind in.
There are several tactics you can and should use to protect against zero click malware. Depending on your current cyber security setup and habits, you may be looking at minor tweaks or more in depth changes to the way you store and share data across your team. Here at TUCU Managed IT Services In Toronto, we work with small businesses and non profits to close security gaps, raise cyber awareness, and protect organizations from ever evolving threats by taking on the day to day IT management every company needs.
Let’s summarize and dive in to zero click malware prevention for small business.
Understanding Zero-Click Malware
Zero-click malware refers to malicious software that can exploit vulnerabilities in an app or system with no interaction from the user (e.g. no link click or file download is required)
It operates in the background, often unbeknownst to the victim.
It can infiltrate through various attack vectors including:
- Malicious websites
- Compromised networks
- Legitimate applications with security loopholes
Once it infects a device, it can execute a range of malicious activities. These include:
- Ability to bypass security measures
- Data theft
- Remote control of infected device
- Spyware and data mining
- Turning devices into botnets for launching attacks
- Financial losses
- Data breaches
- Reputational harm
How To Prevent Zero Click Malware Infections
To prevent zero click and cyber threats in general, apply the following IT security strategies:
→ Keep all software up to date (daily patching on all computers with restart when updates installed).
→ Use Endpoint Protection beyond just antivirus alone.
→ Apply network segmentation or data segmentation in the cloud, giving each user restricted access only to what they need.
→ Educate users on recognizing and reporting strange or unexpected messages, even if no link was clicked.
→ Conduct regular vulnerability assessments. This will vary depending on your industry and the data you work with. Aim for an annual penetration test if you handle sensitive data, or at least an annual IT security review.
→ Uninstall applications that are not required (to limit potential threat vectors).
→ Reserve application installations to an IT administrator only. This person would assess the security and trustworthiness of all apps before installing them. Many legitime apps are well spoofed these days, and the internet is loaded with fake apps containing malware.
→ Only download apps from official app stores.
Do the above sound new to you?
If so, you may have fallen behind in IT security management and may be past due for important changes in how you protect, store, access and share information across your team and client base.
Do you already use most or all the above tactics?
That’s great. Be sure to take some time now to check in across the board. Some suggestions for review include:
Check in with all staff. Has everyone completed a cyber security awareness course this year?
Are all devices and software installs up to date?
Is patching and updating automated or are you still relying on each staff member to manually perform updates on their devices? If manually, consider automating and outsourcing device management to a Managed IT Services company.
If any of the above layers are missing from your strategy, consider adding them in now. Managed Detect & Repair tools as well as application controls are more important than ever before. You can find them bundled with other valuable tools and services via your local IT management company.
Get your Technology from Trusted Professionals
With so many spoofed and fake apps out there, ever changing risks and attacks, and enough on your plate as it is, it makes sense to hire a trusted technology partner to manage your IT security for you.
Need help with a layered security solution?
TUCU Has been serving small teams in Toronto since 2003. Email us now to schedule a call. We can review your IT needs and how we can help you automate and improve your IT security and risk prevention strategies.