Should You Worry About Malware on Your Server?

Malware is in the news all the time. From high profile cyber attacks on government infrastructure, to viruses that affect millions of home computers, malware is everywhere. As a system administrator, should you be concerned about malware on your dedicated server or virtual private server(VPS)?

First, we should have a clear definition of what malware is. The prefix “mal” implies “bad”, and “ware” refers to software. Therefore, malware is simply bad software. This can take the form of a virus, worm, or trojan. Any type of software, including spyware and adware, that has a negative effect can be considered malware.

On a home or office computer, people tend to associate malware with PC computer viruses, but on a server, malware often takes on different forms. Many cyber attackers will use rootkits, botnets, and other server-specific types of exploits. Rather than focusing on virus detection, you should equip your server with vulnerability scanners, brute force detection, a strong network firewall, an application firewall, and possibly an advanced security intrusion detection system. You can also find security for business online that will work on windows servers.

To answer the question more directly: yes, you should be concerned about malware on your server, but it is usually not the same type of malware that plagues PCs. Study the security reports and literature on server malware and be prepared for whatever may come your way.