The threat of malware looms large, casting a shadow of potential devastation over both individual systems and entire businesses. The year 2022 brings with it a stark reminder of the pressing need for organizations to take a proactive stance against malware, safeguarding their critical assets with increased vigilance and sophistication. Let’s delve into the latest malware statistics, shedding light on the ever-evolving battle against this persistent menace.
1. Over 1.1 Billion Malware Programs Exist
The sheer proliferation of malware is staggering, with more than 1.1 billion distinct malicious programs and files lurking across the web. This exponential growth signifies a constant arms race between cybercriminals and cybersecurity experts.
2. A Daily Onslaught: 338,860 New Malware and PUA Detected
Each day, the digital realm witnesses a relentless influx of new malware and potentially unwanted applications (PUAs), numbering close to 339,000. Security researchers, advanced cybersecurity solutions, and anti-malware organizations grapple with the daunting task of identifying and neutralizing these evolving threats. Even systems equipped with built-in antivirus and anti-malware defenses are not impervious to these sophisticated incursions.
3. The Lingering Shadow of 2021: 5.4 Billion Malware Hits
While 2021 saw a 4% reduction in total malware hits, resulting in a 7-year low, the numbers remain alarming, tallying up to a staggering 5.4 billion incidents. However, a closer examination reveals a concerning trend: malware attacks are staging a comeback. The transition from 5.1 billion hits in H2 2019 to 2.9 billion in H2 2021 indicates a resurgence. This resurgence may be attributed, in part, to the return of employees to physical offices, leading to increased network visibility and vulnerability.
4. Small Businesses in the Crosshairs
Small businesses find themselves squarely in the crosshairs of malware attacks, bearing the brunt of nearly 60% of these digital assaults. Astonishingly, 16.5% of small businesses grapple with malware attacks, ranking it as the third most common type of attack faced by SMBs.
5. Ransomware’s Alarming Surge: A 92.7% Increase in 2021
The ransomware threat landscape paints a grim picture, with attacks surging by a staggering 92.7% between 2020 and 2021. The regions of North America and Europe were particularly hard hit by ransomware assaults in 2021, and this ominous trend shows no signs of abating in 2022.
6. SMBs: The Preferred Prey for Ransomware Attacks
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) bear the brunt of ransomware attacks, with a staggering 82% of such assaults targeting them. This preference arises from the tendency of SMBs to rely on traditional antivirus and firewall solutions, rendering them more vulnerable to the ever-evolving tactics of sophisticated cybercriminals. Alarmingly, 75% of SMBs hit by ransomware face the grim prospect of shutting down, with most unlikely to survive beyond a week due to the severe disruption of business operations and the exorbitant costs of recovery.
7. Ransomware’s Pervasive Costs
Ransomware attacks exact a staggering financial toll, with an average cost of USD 4.62 million, excluding the ransom itself. This figure encompasses expenses related to incident response, escalation, notification, and lost business. The average ransom demand has soared to USD 2.2 million, a sharp increase from USD 900,000 in 2020. Factoring in ransom payments further amplifies the economic impact of ransomware attacks.
8. IoT Malware Ascends
IoT (Internet of Things) malware continued its upward trajectory in 2021, albeit at a slightly slower rate of 6% year-over-year (YoY), compared to the meteoric 66% surge witnessed in 2020. IoT malware serves as a potent weapon for orchestrating diverse attacks, including Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) assaults, botnet hijackings, spam propagation, and more, all with the aim of yielding substantial financial gains.
9. Mobile Malware on the Rampage: A 500% Increase in Early 2022
The early months of 2022 witnessed a surge in mobile malware attacks, with a remarkable 500% increase. Android users, in particular, found themselves targeted by a slew of malware attacks, including Flubot, a mobile malware that exploited clickable texts for propagation, and Moghau, an SMS-based malware variant embraced by attackers.
10. VBA Trojan Dominance: Constituting 30% of All Malware Variants
VBA Trojan, a familiar adversary in the malware landscape, will maintain its prominent status in 2022, accounting for a substantial 30% of all known malware variants.
Evolution of Attack Vectors
11. Email: The Primary Delivery Channel (92%)
A staggering 92% of malware is disseminated via email, solidifying its status as the favored avenue for malware delivery.
12. Word Documents: A Disguised Threat (38%)
Malware finds refuge in disguise, with 38% of malicious payloads masquerading as innocuous Word documents, evading suspicion, and penetrating systems.
13. Surge in Malicious PDFs: A 52% Year-Over-Year Increase
Malicious PDF files witnessed a substantial 52% YoY surge, underscoring cybercriminals’ preference for this file format. Ordinary-looking Word and PDF files often slip under the radar, exploiting user complacency.
14. Healthcare and Government: High-Risk Sectors
The healthcare sector experienced a staggering 121% surge in malware hits in 2021, making it the most targeted industry. Government institutions followed closely with a 94% increase in attacks, underscoring the critical need for enhanced cybersecurity measures.
15. Employee-to-Employee Malware Propagation Soars to 74% in 2021
Malware isn’t limited to its initial victim; it spreads within organizations as infected employees unwittingly become agents of dissemination. This emphasizes the importance of ongoing employee education and awareness to fortify defenses against malware effectively.
These 15 malware statistics for 2022 paint a stark picture of the persistent and evolving threat landscape. To shield against the most insidious and sophisticated malware, organizations must invest in intelligent, managed security solutions like AppTrana. With these insights, organizations can bolster their defenses and navigate the intricate terrain of modern cybersecurity.
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