Every year IT security companies compile annual reports which release data on the threats they’ve encountered throughout the previous year. These reports can grant important insight into what trends in malware are taking place and how this information informs are ability to defend ourselves. At MCR, we trust in Webroot Enterprise Antivirus; Webroot recently released their 2018 threat report and here are the big overall conclusions:

Windows Gets Better
Having the latest and greatest Operating System with current updates goes a long way toward keeping yousecure. Webroot found that Windows 7 machines were about twice as likely as Windows 10 machines to be infected with Malware.

94% of the malware that Webroot encountered last year were polymorphic, meaning that while a piece of malware may share similarities with others, it has changed, adapted and randomized to become unique and avoid detection. Much like viruses in the natural world, which evolve and mutate, making it more difficult for vaccines to prevent them, hackers seek to make malware that will undergo random changes toavoid being found.

Ransomware Grows
Ransomware increased in proliferation during 2017. Two of the largest wide-scale Ransomware attacks in history took place (WannaCry and Petya) and victims spent an estimated 1.2 billion dollars to mitigate the damages of those attacks.

Phishing Expeditions
Phishing continues to be one of the most effective methods that scammers and hackers employ to breach networks. Most Phishing websites are only up for a narrow window of time– less than a day– and are designed to imitate login pages for Microsoft, Google, Apple, PayPal or other popular services. It is clear that Phishers are becoming more sophisticated in their social engineering and targeting, carefully directing their approaches to members of certain organizations and curating information to entice their targets.

The Takeaway
If we can glean one lesson from the Webroot Threat assessment, it is that hackers and scammers will forever change and adapt their methods of attack. It is crucial that users stay vigilant and use best practices to maintain security online. If you’d like to check out a handy infographic of the Webroot 2018 Threat Report it’s available here.  Or if you’d like to peruse the full version of the report you can find it here. As always, if you have questions about your security you can give us a call at Mankato Computer Repair.