The numbers are in, and they don’t look too good.
A new report from the respected independent testing agency AV-Test.org reveals some scary-sounding facts about the state of malware today.
According to AV-Test.org, it has 578,702,687 malware samples in its testing database – with over 115 million discovered so far during 2016 alone.
That translates to 4-5 new malware samples every second of every day.
That doesn’t mean, of course, that your business is likely to encounter each and every one of those malware samples. Indeed, the vast majority of it will probably never trouble you.
But no-one knows which malware might hit your company next, and so the only sensible approach is to protect against all of it.
Curiously, according to AV-Test.org, a resurgence is being seen in at least one area of malware that had previously thought to have been dwindling.
Old-fashioned Windows viruses – which replicate - had been thought to be in decline, in favour of Windows-based Trojan horses (which don’t replicate).
However, when comparing first two quarters of 2016 to 2015, AV-Test.org has found that almost half of all new Windows malware (49.2%) can be classified as a “virus” as opposed to 30% in 2015.
Also on the rise is Android-based malware, with AV-Test.org reporting that they have now seen over 16.5 million different samples targeting the smartphone operating system.
iOS’s malware threat, by comparison, is described as “negligible.”
The report warns that criminals are “massively expanding their activity” when it comes to Android, suggesting that attackers are finding it an increasingly effective way to earn income.
The criminals aren’t creating new strains of malware for fun. They, just like you, are running a business. They want their attack to infect corporate networks to steal information, to open backdoors, to hijack systems because that’s how they make their money.
Your job is to do a decent job of defending your users, your customers’ data, your business’s intellectual property, your infrastructure from malware attack.
There’s no such thing as a 100% fool-proof defence, but if you can harden your systems enough there is a chance that even a determined hacker will choose to find a softer target instead.
The good news is that security software is getting better all the time, and more and more businesses are protected proactively against threats – limiting the opportunities for an attack to succeed.
And that, of course, is where AV-Test.org comes in – they are independent experts in evaluating the quality of computer security products – putting them through their paces to determine which vendors are doing a good job, and who has dropped the ball.
When choosing an anti-virus solution for your business, look for a complete solution which has a long track record of performing well in independent comparative tests.
Because the malware attacks aren’t going to stop anytime soon.
The full report can be downloaded from the AV-Test.org website (PDF).
Graham Cluley is an award-winning security blogger, researcher and public speaker. He has been working in the computer security industry since the early 1990s, having been employed by companies such as Sophos, McAfee and Dr Solomon's. He has given talks about computer security for some of the world's largest companies, worked with law enforcement agencies on investigations into hacking groups, and regularly appears on TV and radio explaining computer security threats. Graham Cluley was inducted into the InfoSecurity Europe Hall of Fame in 2011, and was given an honorary mention in the "10 Greatest Britons in IT History" for his contribution as a leading authority in internet security.View all posts
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