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Malware By The Numbers

Malware remains among the top cyber threats that businesses face today. As malware types like ransomware continue to become more prevalent, it’s more important than ever for businesses of all sizes to be aware of what threats are out there.  Specific threats they need to be the most concerned about.

Our friends at Malwarebytes spent six months collecting detailed statistics on a wide range of malware threats. Their findings covered more than 200 countries, with data from over 100 million Windows and Android devices and nearly 1 billion malware detections.

Facts and Figures

The focus was on 6 major threat categories – ransomware, ad fraud malware, android malware, botnets, banking Trojans, and adware.

Unsurprisingly, ransomware topped the threat list as the favorite method of attack against businesses, with just under 400 different variants cataloged in the fourth quarter of 2016 alone. Between June and November of that year, the rate of ransomware incidents went up a staggering 267%. Worldwide, 12.3% of all businesses targeted by cyber threats were hit with ransomware.

Here at home, ad fraud malware has proven to be especially problematic. 70% of all ad fraud malware detections happened right here in the US. One variant in particular known as Kovter led the pack, accounting for 69% of all US ad fraud malware detections.

Across the pond, Asia and Europe saw a spike in botnet activity. The rate of Kelihos botnet attacks went up by 960% in October 2016 alone. The IRCBot went up 667% in August 2016, and the Qbot went up 261% in November 2016. Germany seems to be the most affected by this trend, with overall botnet activity in the country going up 550% between 2015 and 2016. Europe as a whole is the most malware-riddled continent, averaging 20% more infections than North America, and 49% of all ransomware infections globally happened in Europe.

Ransomware Isn’t Going Anywhere

So what do these statistics mean for your business? For starters, they paint a very clear picture of just how dangerous ransomware is. It’s all but inevitable that your business will be targeted by some form of malware, if it hasn’t been already.

This doesn’t mean your business has to become a victim. There are many security precautions you can put in place to reduce or even eliminate the chances of malware finding its way inside your systems successfully, and steps you can take to minimize the damage done if you do become infected.

Proper employee training is a huge part of protecting your business against ransomware. Phishing emails are a favorite method of deployment, and as we mentioned earlier, malicious ads are a serious problem in the US. Educating your team on the best ways to spot and avoid malicious content will go a very long way towards keeping infections out of your systems and network.

Next-gen firewalls, antivirus, and antimalware software are getting better and better at keeping up with the latest malware variants and can create layered security that can stop an infection dead in its tracks.

A solid Business Continuity plan that involves thorough data backups stored in a secure, offsite location can act as your last line of defense against threats like ransomware, giving you the option to wipe your systems clean of the infection, and restore vital data and applications in less time than it would take to rebuild your systems from scratch. Even if you choose not to pay a ransomware demand, the cost of prolonged downtime while you work out how to get your operations up and running again is often more than your business can afford.

Without the necessary backups and precautions in place, a business hit by a ransomware infection will likely never fully recover. Lost productivity, lost profits, and the damage to your business’ reputation are huge hurdles to overcome. Preparing today in anticipation of tomorrow’s disaster might be the only thing that makes it possible to keep your doors open.

Want to learn more about the steps you can take to protect your business against threats like ransomware? Contact us at [email protected] or (628) 867-6130. We’re the IT professionals businesses in Bay Area trust.