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What Is Riskware? Cybersecurity Threats You Must Be Aware Of
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In the Online World, Dangers are Lurking All Around. Find Out More and Ensure your Company’s Cybersecurity!

Whether we use it mostly at home or at work, the Internet is not always a safe place – clearly. As cybersecurity professionals, we know – and try to draw everyone’s attention too – that there are dozens of threats we need to be aware of in order to protect our online security. In this context, we cannot refrain from speaking about riskware.  What is riskware, you may wonder? 

Riskware is a general concept referring to legitimate programs that are potentially risky because of software incompatibility, security vulnerability or legal violations. Typically, these programs are not designed to be malicious – some of their functions may be used in malicious purposes, though, and cybercriminals might exploit them to hijack computer systems, steal data or cause disruptions. When something like this intercedes, they can be considered [Only registered and activated users can see links Click here to register], an ill-intentioned software that can disrupt normal computer operations, harvest confidential information, obtain unauthorized access to computer systems, display unwanted advertising etc., and a security issue that affects over 40% of the companies. 

Risky software usually leaves systems vulnerable when it comes to data and program exploits (due to program misuse or data breaches) and legal risks (due to abuse of privacy or illegal attempts to modify programs – just last year [Only registered and activated users can see links Click here to register] had a privacy issue when some Dutch customer’s audio recordings on Google Home smart speakers were leaked). 

What is Riskware – Vulnerable Computer Functions

The most vulnerable functions of your device are the following: 

– system kernel — system’s core data
– vital system operation areas — registry, internet functionality protocols etc.
– data-gathering hardware — GPS, microphone, camera etc
– programs modifications — changing code, disabling features etc.

What is Riskware – Threatening Software Examples

he riskiest programs for your company are remote support utilities, Internet relay chat clients, dialer programs, file downloaders, auto-installers, password managers, computer activity monitoring software and the Internet server services (FTP, proxy), because they might.

1. CREATE UNNECESSARY VULNERABILITIES

Riskware programs can be dangerous when they function with modified software or use external programs to delude the original design. This happens in the case of fraudulent licensed copies, for example, like the ones used to replicate the Windows OS, where all interaction with the vendor’s services, like updates or[Only registered and activated users can see links Click here to register], is disabled. Moreover, riskware can also turn you into an easy target for hackers if it is poorly designed or not coded and tested with security in mind.  

2. VIOLATE LAWS

It is not uncommon for many types of software to tread a fine line when it comes to legality. For example, surveillance software can be entirely legal or entirely illegal depending on how it is used and the state where it is used. A legal check is necessary if your company uses employee monitoring software that somehow stores non-business private data.  

3. MONITOR USER BEHAVIOUR

Data collection is the main issue that makes user behaviour monitoring software risky. This type of software has legal risks by default, but the gathered data can also get exposed to malicious players. Companies that work with a lot of user data are often targeted and can be affected by the actions of cybercriminals. 
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