When in doubt, layer and share

As email has become the most popular way for people to communicate, it is no wonder that criminals are exploiting it to infiltrate computers whether to disrupt businesses or to steal sensitive data for financial gain, often resulting in data breaches. Malware attachments via email is just one technique criminals use; and businesses without proper defenses in place will likely fall victim.

When it comes to protecting your business from malware infections via attachments, the first step is to proactively educate your employees about immediately spotting suspicious attachments. Employees trained to spot cyberattacks are the first line of defense. Knowing what to look out for can help businesses brace for cyberattacks and put in place the right defenses.

Cyberthreats are constantly evolving so for companies to stay ahead of these threats, information sharing is critical through constant information sharing with similar organizations through institutions like FS-ISAC. Being a part of a robust global information sharing community to report threats and get alerts about what member institutions are experiencing in real time will serve as an early warning system, increase your chances of bypassing evolving threats, and provide better situational awareness for risk mitigation. Businesses can also help crowd-source data on mitigation by sharing intel on tools, tactics, and procedures that criminals are using in their attacks. This can help determine how the malware is trying to infiltrate and disrupt business operations. By using and sharing this information, the business and community can adjust their defenses based on the attack.

On a more tactical level, a business could block file extensions. While this is a more basic approach, it is one way to protect your organization from known malicious file types. Organizations can also deploy technology to screen emails and files for infections by blocking them based on signatures or opening the attachment in safe zones--a virtual computer where malware is detonated or opened and safely analyzed.

Last but not least, it is critical that businesses are diligent about their cyberhygiene by ensuring that they are installing available software patches for their systems to fix known vulnerabilities. Too often, organizations leave themselves exposed to malware even though there is a preventative measure via patching.

There is no perfect formula for cybercrime prevention and companies need to employ a multi-layered approach to defend against malware. If businesses follow these steps and join an information sharing community, they will be better positioned to survive a cyberstorm.

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