Increased Spread of Malicious Office Docs in Small Business

malicious office docsWhile certain types of cybercriminal behavior have been around for a long time, they tend to come and go, depending on other trends in the small-to-medium-sized business community. Remote work due to COVID-19 was a game-changer for many businesses and cybercriminals adapted, finding new ways to get into databases and steal or hold hostage essential data and vital information. Malicious office docs are becoming popular again, infecting computers and networks through the use of malware downloads in the form of PDFs, Word documents, and other popular document formats. Cybersecurity in Boston should address common issues like these while maintaining high standards for network protection and enacting a proactive plan with a comprehensive data backup and recovery program.

Record Ransomware Payouts

Studies show that cyberattacks that involve the use of malware downloads with ransomware have increased significantly between 2020 and 2021. The use of malicious office docs to achieve these goals is very timely, as many businesses move back to the office, put a pause on reentry in some locations, or make more extensive investments in remote working, depending on the industry that they serve. Infecting office documents with malware has been done for many years, particularly because it is a very successful ruse. The cybercriminal creates a malicious macro on the document, which is then sent to thousands of users via email. It’s a simple process that just involves a bit of creativity and patience, as one of those users will undoubtedly click on the email, download the document, and activate the malicious macros.

With more employees working from home, the use of malicious office docs has increased. Part of this has to do with lax cybersecurity in Boston and other areas where remote work is occurring, but the primary reason is due to predictable human behavior. Employee training is a vital part of network security, just as much as anti-virus, anti-malware, password protection, and other industry services and tools. Companies that do not invest in training will ultimately fall victim to malware downloads and other user-targeted attacks. From 2020 to 2021, the use of malicious office docs increased by approximately 35 percent. Many of these harmful files an evade detection by anti-virus software because the malicious macro is embedded in the otherwise legitimately formatted document.

Protect Against Malicious Office Docs

Another reason why these malware downloads are more effective with remote workers is that the home networks they are using to log onto the corporate network are much more likely to already have at least one type of malware. Compared to corporate networks where cybersecurity in Boston is a priority, home networks are also nearly eight times more likely to have at least five different types of malware. This makes it easier for attackers to distribute malware that will eventually make its way into the corporate network to impact the business. The ability of companies to detect these types of threats on the home network is “next to zero,” according to many industry experts, so the attacks themselves don’t even need to be that sophisticated.

Establishing a comprehensive data backup and recovery plan is the best way to defend your network and business against malicious office docs and other types of attacks on in-house or remote workers. Definitely build up your extended networks and security protocols, but invest in creating backups of all essential company data and business information in case it falls to cybercriminals in a ransomware situation. There are many different threats that can be overcome quickly if your company has a solid backup and recovery plan that it can rely on to get back to business without delay. Synivate can assist you with a wide range of services, including establishing solid cybersecurity in Boston, data backup and recovery programs, employee training, and much more.

Get a FREE estimate for any of the services that we provide just by calling our team at 617-848-1248. We can answer any questions you might have about our innovative technology solutions and services designed to assist small-to-medium-sized businesses and large organizations with their needs for cybersecurity in Boston. We have helped hundreds of clients in the Greater Boston area to evaluate and resolve their technology needs.