Even though antivirus programs work tirelessly to detect and remove malicious software, malware threats are on the rise, infecting more computers than ever before. We’ll take a look at the trends of malware, major statistics and the effect it has on Windows, Android and Mac devices.
By looking at past behavior, we can tell a bit more about the future. It’s very important to understand malware trends so you can take the necessary steps to avoid this threat.
Keep up to Date on:
- The major developments in malware
- Any new malware creation trends
- The comparisons between the major operating systems
- Malware infection rates by type
- Infection rates by region and sector
1. Americans Worried About Cybercrime
Over 70% of Americans are worried about having their personal data stolen from their computers and networks. By contrast, only 24% are worried about terrorism, and 17% are worried about being murdered.
These fears are highly justifiable. Murder rates are low and have been dropping for years, but cybercrime, especially nowadays, seems like it can reach out and touch you anywhere. Americans are right to worry.
2. Big Data Breaches are On the Rise
January 2019 saw the release of nearly two billion hacked records – 1,769,185,063 to be precise. Additionally, the new sources of leaked data are alarming. Although the largest leak – Collection #1 – was primarily a compilation of previous breaches, other sources included data from 202 million Chinese citizens and a database of FBI investigations.
3. MS Office is a Primary Attack Vector
Beware your own productivity tools. While .exe files used to be the weapon of choice for attackers, users have caught on to the fact that you shouldn’t click them, and email services block them from being sent. People don’t tend to suspect ordinary looking .doc files as much, and so 38% of malware is disguised using that format.
4. Average Cost of Breach Increases
Either hackers are getting better, or they’re hitting more expensive targets (it’s probably a mixture of both). In 2018, the cost of a data breach increased by 6.4% to $3.86 million. This is simply the global average, however – in the US it’s more like $7.91 million.
5. Ransomware Isn’t Going Anywhere
Reports of ransomware’s demise are exaggerated. This year, organizations and individuals will pay $11.5 billion, either as a cost of remediating ransomware damage or simply as a cost or paying a ransom. Local governments continue to be a popular target. This year, Jackson County, GA, Orange County, NC, and Baltimore, MD, all joined the list of prominent victims.
6. Malware Takes an Increasing Toll
Four years ago in 2015, the global cost of malware was an already-staggering $500 billion. In just a short time, however, the economic toll of cybercrime has grown fourfold, to $2 trillion USD. At the current trajectory, the total cost will reach $6 trillion by 2021.
7. Cryptojacking on the Rise
In order to generate cryptocurrency, you need to harness CPU power. This can be expensive to buy on its own – but it’s free if you steal it. Cryptojacking malware steals your CPU cycles to mine cryptocurrency, and it’s some of the fastest-growing malware out there, with 8 million attempts per month at the beginning of 2018.
8. Hackers Coming for Your Phone
As if everything else weren’t enough, your phone is now a target. Mobile malware targets older versions of Android apps, and malicious apps now populate both the Apple and Android Stores. About 24,000 malicious apps are blocked every day, a volume that virtually guarantees that some malicious apps are getting through.
9. You’re Not Ready
Despite the eight bullet points you’ve read already, it’s likely that your business still isn’t prepared for a cyberattack. A survey of over 4,000 organizations shows that over 70% are unprepared to face down even the most basic attempt at a breach.
10. Phishing Attempts are the Ones to Look Out For
Even in the age of security awareness training, the vast majority of cyberattacks stem from phishing. Nine out of ten cyberattacks start with a simple phishing email, and these emails are getting both more numerous and more sophisticated.
11. Most Malware Comes Via Email
In line with the study above, email is basically radioactive when it comes to cyberattacks. Out of over 50,000 security incidents, email was the responsible factor in 92% of cases. Second place was taken by browser-based malware such as drive-by-downloads at a paltry 6%.
12. Most Cyber Criminals Want Cash
Forget reasons such as petty revenge, industrial espionage, nation-state espionage, and simple activism/vandalism – most cybercriminals want your money. 76% of attackers are motivated by financial gains, with organized criminals taking up the majority of attackers.
13. Customers Take a Dismal View
What with companies losing their data in breaches left right and center, it’s understandable that customers feel that their data privacy is getting short shrift. Only a quarter of consumers think that their data is getting the treatment it deserves.
14. Companies Invest in Privacy
By way of responding to the above, large companies are beginning to invest in security in order to head off mass customer desertions. It’s a small start – only 10% of investment in security will be driven by customer privacy concerns.
15. Small Businesses Take the Brunt
If your company has less than 1,000 employees, you are a prime target for malware. Over 60% of attacks are directed towards this business category, which overwhelmingly lacks the budget and manpower to defend against serious threats.
Awareness is the Best Defense Against Malware
Malware is still a significant problem. Now more than ever, hackers are interested in breaking into your accounts, collecting your sensitive information, and stealing from you. While traditional antivirus programs will help you, they can’t always protect you from your own computer behaviors like clicking harmful links or failing to update your software.
That’s why you need to stay informed, keep learning about the latest malware, and update your antivirus, browser, and operating system regularly in order to be prepared for tomorrow’s threats.