Small Businesses Under Attack: Common Types of Malware and Viruses That Target SMEs


Hackers are targeting small businesses. This year, while the entire world is grappling with a deadly pandemic, cybercriminals have attempted and successfully infiltrated the database of small businesses. A report released by Verizon earlier this year found that small businesses were the victims of almost a third of all breaches in 2020.

When corporations experience a data leak, it becomes a nationwide scandal. However, they often have the resources to respond promptly and control the outcry that comes out of it. They also have the best minds and tools to prevent such events from happening in the first place.

In comparison, small businesses are caught unaware that they are being targeted. They do not have the resources to acquire the necessary weapons to fight off cyberattacks or hire experts who can advise them on how to respond to data breaches.

And, that is also why they are often targeted. Cybercriminals know that small businesses are unprepared for cyberattacks.

This should not be the case. Entrepreneurs can protect their small businesses by hiring a skilled computer technician who is capable of ensuring data security.

Being aware of the threats will allow small businesses to prepare for and prevent an attack.


Businesses typically generate and collect a ton of data. Data is important to the operation of the business. If the business loses its data, it will be as if they are starting from scratch all over again.

Cybercriminals expect businesses to do everything they can to retrieve their data back even if it meant paying hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. This is what happens in a ransomware attack. The hackers would lock an important file and ask the owner to cough up the money in exchange for the decryption key. It is brutal; hackers can lock multiple computers at once. Hackers can also wipe any online backup to force the owner of the account to pay the price.

To avoid becoming a victim of ransomware, business owners are advised to keep their operating system and software up-to-date, use antivirus and antimalware solutions, back up their data, and secure the data. If hackers get a hold of their devices and demand money, contact the local field office of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Banking Trojans

Banking trojans want the banking information of the business and the people who run it. They can usually gain access to sensitive financial data by using a keylogger, a strategy in which the hackers — using a device connected to the keyboard or a malware — records the activity of the keyboard and the computer it is plugged into.

The hacker may also inject malware that includes extra data fields in forms on websites and the user’s internet browser. They do this in the hopes that they can get the credit card and banking information from the user.

As soon as they get the credentials they need, hackers can access bank accounts and steal money.

To avoid falling victim to a banking trojan, here are a few things that businesses need to do. First, use antivirus and antimalware solutions on all your devices. Second, install mobile applications only from trusted sources. Finally, always be alert and look out for unusual behavior from online banking websites. Changes in the login page design, grammar and spelling lapses, or extra login fields that were not there before could be signs of a banking trojan.

Macro Viruses

A macro virus is coded similar to software applications that individuals and organizations use. They spread and infect a device when the user opens and downloads an email attachment, when they download a file from the internet, and when files are shared on a disk or a network.

When a macro virus is present in a device, it can corrupt data, create new files, send files, insert photos, and reformat hard drives. One of the main goals of macro viruses is to replicate.

One infamous example of a macro virus is the Melissa Virus from 1999. Back then, the macro virus worked by sending itself to the first 50 people in a victim’s contact list.

Usually, the device infected with a macro virus is noticeably slower. Sometimes, files that do not normally are unlocked now require a password or strange error messages appear on the screen.

An antivirus application can detect and remove macro viruses from the device.

Small businesses have no choice but to funnel a portion of their resources toward cybersecurity if they do not want to fall victims to damaging cyberattacks. This way, they can protect their data and their personal financial information from cybercriminals who are targeting unsuspecting small business owners.

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