Data analyzed and presented by Atlas VPN, 2021 has revealed a record year for the development of new Windows malware.
While 2021 has another month to go, cybercriminals have already developed 107.28 million unique threats targeted at Windows devices.
The data for the analysis was provided by AV-TEST GmbH, an independent research institute for IT security.
The figures were last updated on November 23, 2021.
Interestingly, the creation of new malware types targeted towards Windows OS devices has been growing steadily since 2012.
On average, the quantity of new malicious software samples grows by 9.5 million or 23% YoY.
This year so far, over 107.28 million new threats for Windows OS have been seen, representing a 16.53 million or 18% increase over 2020.
Put differently, cybercriminals employed more of their resources towards Windows OS than ever before.
To put things in perspective, threat actors developed around 328 thousand malware samples daily in 2021.
Cybercriminals work together to reduce costs
The fact that malicious software is easier to develop than ever before contributes to this unprecedented increase in risks.
Hackers no longer require advanced programming abilities because they can buy ready-made malware code, customize it to their needs with a little coding, and create an entirely new malware type.
Moreover, the wide availability of hackers-for-hire made prices ridiculously cheap. For example, one of our earlier analyses uncovered that hiring attacks on the dark web cost as little as KES 25 million per attack.
Similarly, the cost of a spear-phishing attack might range from KES 10000 to KES 100000.
Spearphishing differs from other phishing attempts in that it is directed at a specific target, whether it is an organization or a person. Targeted attacks have a much higher success rate than those sent out in bulk.
In short, a malicious person with a relatively small budget can cause severe issues to an organization’s security.
Whenever you encounter an OS update that includes security patches, be sure to install it as soon as possible. You might notice that nearly every patch has a security update.
Why is that? Precisely because hackers are working day and night to find cracks within the operating system.
Developers have to keep up with the latest malware types and patch them within days of discovering them.
Windows OS was always targeted much more often than macOS.
The analysis only confirms the fact, which should remind Windows OS users to stay on their toes when browsing the web or downloading email attachments.
You can’t be sure that the latest patch was enough to protect you against the new wave of malware threats.