3 ways to protect yourself from the current rise in Trojan attacks

RATDispenser evades nine in ten anti-virus engines

There's no way around it, Trojan attacks - malware disguising itself as legitimate software before going on to steal sensitive data and gain backdoor access to the system - are on the rise, and hackers are targeting not just individual users but also businesses, as these threats become ever more sophisticated.

The amount of people who now bank, shop and pay for things online has given rise to more criminals trying to exploit them. For companies this is even more dangerous as, after even a tiny example of human error, sensitive information relating to the entire company could potentially be compromised and data lost forever.

The rise in threats in recent years has had the beneficial side effect of making help and advice for businesses and individuals more widely known and readily available.

If you want a more comprehensive account of the financial threats Trojans can pose to you and your company, you can download Kaspersky's full report here. However, there are a few simple habits and tricks can make the most difference between being left vulnerable to attack and having peace of mind.

Here are three things you should always do to avoid becoming the next victim of a Trojan attack (you can find out more by downloading the full whitepaper here).

Be aware of suspicious links

According to Kaspersky's Financial Cyberthreats in 2016 report (available here), every fourth phishing attempt blocked by its products was related to banking, and the number of users affected with these banking Trojans increased by 30.55% (1,088,900) compared to the previous year. These kinds of attacks are therefore one of the most widespread examples and companies and individual users alike must stay vigilant.

You should know what a bad link looks like when it is sent via email or social media, and make sure everyone else in the company does too. If in doubt, never ever click unknown links sent from someone you haven't have previous communication with, as this can easily lead you to phishing websites.

Often these kinds of messages will direct you to an external webpage alleging more information, or it will claim the user can transfer money from one bank card to another with no minimal fee. To find out more about what these kinds of phishing scams look like, download the full report.

Use a VPN for public Wi-Fi networks

It would be simple if we could always be at home or in the office when dealing with company data, but this isn't the case. Instead, we're prone to setting up at a nearby coffee shop and connecting to unsecure, public wi-fi networks. Hackers know this and can target users through these unreliable connections, so always make sure you're using a VPN to encrypt any data transferred.

There are many affordable VPNs (ranging from $5 to $15 per month) to be found, and most also offer free trials that allow you to find the best solution for your business before you commit fully. It's also likely to be cheaper for companies to pay for long-term subscriptions, rather than month to month.

Get a dedicated security solution for all devices

Even if you're the most careful person in the world, it's always possible that malware could find its way onto your device or network, leading to significant financial losses. That's why it's essential for everyone - especially large organisations or SMBs - to have a dedicated security solution (Find out more about that here) in place across all devices including tablets, mobile and PCs.

The popularity of BYOD and remote working has made this issue more complicated, and security is paramount on personal devices as well as company ones. If you ever work on your own PC, phone or tablet then make sure you're as aware of security on these as you are when in the office.

Caroline Preece

Caroline has been writing about technology for more than a decade, switching between consumer smart home news and reviews and in-depth B2B industry coverage. In addition to her work for IT Pro and Cloud Pro, she has contributed to a number of titles including Expert Reviews, TechRadar, The Week and many more. She is currently the smart home editor across Future Publishing's homes titles.

You can get in touch with Caroline via email at caroline.preece@futurenet.com.