Malware doesn’t just appear on your computer out of nowhere. Whether it’s a self-propagating virus, a worm or ransomware, it must use a channel or method to reach your computer. Known as a vector, they provide the means for infection. Using a vector, malware can travel from the hacker — or a comprimised website or device — to your computer where it then causes malicious harm. What are the most common vectors used for malware infections exactly?

Phishing Emails

Phishing emails are a common vector used for malware infections. As you may known, phishing emails are designed to trick the recipient into divulging sensitive information or taking some type of action. They look like credible and legitimate emails, but they contain links or attachments that, when followed, can lead to a malware infection.

Weak Passwords

Another common malware vector is weak passwords. Research shows that over four in five data breaches experienced by businesses are the result of weak passwords. Weak passwords are typically “cracked” using a brute force attack. During this otherwise common cyber attack, a hacker will spam the login screen with countless username and password combinations in an effort to guess the victim’s credentials.

Poor Network Security

Failure to create a secure network can provide a vector for malware infections. If your business’s wireless network is connected to the internet, a hacker may use it as a vector to deploy malware. You can strengthen your business’s wireless network by using a property security protocol, such as WPA2. For additional protection, you can use a firewall to help block malicious traffic from reaching your business’s wireless network and its connected devices.

Lost or Stolen Devices

Lost or stolen devices can also provide a vector for malware infections. Depending on the type of data stored on the device, as well as its security measures, a hacker may use it to deploy malware. If a device is already logged in to your business’s network or one of its remote servers, for example, a hacker may use it to deploy malware.


While distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are typically performed to harm network performance, they can also be used as a vector for malware infections. DDoS attacks are troublesome because they often use thousands of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. Hackers don’t perform them using a single IP address. Rather, they perform DDoS attacks using a botnet consisting of thousands of devices with their own unique IP address.

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