When it comes to cybersecurity and the exploits used by criminals, we need to understand that they are constantly changing. Hackers are trying the latest and greatest exploits; and are trying to stay one step ahead of the security experts trying to catch them in the process. This means tactics will constantly evolve, so we need to be diligent about keeping up with the latest trends in order to protect ourselves.
Kaspersky Lab reports that it blocked 702.026.084 attacks against 4,347,966 users around the globe. The sheer number of attacks increased by 24.54% between 2015 and 2016, while the number of users attacked decreased by 20.85% over that same time period.
This means that although that number of users encountering attacks decreased, the chance that users would be attacked increased. Another way of saying this is that the sheer number of infected websites and malicious spam or email keeps growing.
Another important point to note is that those numbers also suggest that specific users are targeted more frequently than the rest, and this brings us to perhaps the biggest takeaway of this blog.
The share of corporate users who encountered an attack in 2016 increased by 6 percentage points. This means cybercriminal organizations are starting to leave the average computer operator alone in favor of concentrating on and targeting corporations and their employees.
The frequency at which these corporate users are targeted with at least one exploit have increased 28.35% over the last year as well.
It makes a lot of dollars and sense, too. Ransomware may get $100 from Aunt Trudy because she needs those pictures of her late cat, but getting the all of the credit card information from Target’s customers, for example, is a wee bit more lucrative.
So now that we know corporate users and machines are being targeted more frequently, it would probably be a good idea to go over the types of applications that appear to be particularly vulnerable. It’s not easy to cover all of your bases, but if you understand the most egregious offenders, perhaps you'd better be able to pick your battles and defend yourself.
Looking at the chart below, you can see the various browsers are targeted most frequently. You can protect yourself from browser attacks by:
Also looking back at the chart, we can see that the next most targeted application is Windows. For most of us, this does not come as a surprise. Windows hasn’t exactly been known for its impenetrability. To better defend your Windows OS:
The third most targeted application is the Android operating system for smartphones. Much like Windows, Android isn’t known for its robust security features. Protecting your phone from malicious attack is harder than with a computer because there are not great real-time monitoring programs to protect it. What you can do:
***It should be noted that attacks on MS Office software users went ballistic from 2015 to 2016, and increased by nearly 103%, and that Adobe Reader attacks were lessened by 74.76% over that same time.
You can see that when a company decides it is going to dedicate its time towards security and privacy, real gains can be made in a relatively short period of time. It can be done - they just need the will to do it.
Exploits in applications and operating systems affect hundreds of millions of users worldwide with no signs of slowing down. In fact, all signs point towards this problem becoming much worse in the near future.
Now that the CIA’s malicious hacking tools have been leaked via Wikileaks in a dump entitled “Vault 7”, you can expect many massive attacks to be launched. Because they’re just source code, hackers can take said code and alter it in an unlimited variety of ways.
All of us going forward need to be very careful with our computers, smartphones, and the applications they use.
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