Report: Malware Attacks Fall Year-on-Year

John Lister's picture

A computer security company claims malware attacks are on the decrease. The difference appears to be that criminals are more closely targeting attacks, which could be good news for the average user.

The figures come from Sonicwall, which offers firewalls and other cyber security solutions. The data is based on the attacks and attempted attacks it detected among customers covering 1.1 million sites in 215 countries. (Source: sonicwall.com)

Although the actual numbers it gives aren't necessarily meaningful, the year-on-year comparisons between its new report covering 2019 and the one it did for 2018 should show meaningful trends.

Cryptojacking On The Decline

Perhaps the best news in the report was a drop of six percent in the number of attempted malware attacks from 2018 to 2019 and a drop of nine percent in attempted ransomware attacks in the same period. (Source: theregister.co.uk)

According to the company, the most likely explanation is attackers putting more effort into attacking specific targets such as those with high financial value or sensitive data. That could mean less efforts involving what the company calls "spray and pray" attacks, where the idea is to hit as many people as possible and play the numbers game.

The report notes a particularly dramatic drop in cryptojacking, where criminals try to hijack a user's computer to use its resources to verify transactions of virtual cryptocurrency. That increases their chances of being rewarded with units of the cryptocurrency that they can exchange for real world cash.

The drop is largely because of the closure of Coinhive, a service that was designed to let people intentionally use their computer's resources for cryptocurrency mining, but which proved a honeypot for hackers.

Microsoft Office Still a Target

It's not all good news. There was a five percent rise in attacks on the Internet of Things (IoT), meaning Internet-connected devices such as smart TVs and home security cameras.

The report also noted a significant level of attacks which targeted Microsoft Office and the PDF format, and a big rise in attacks which use encrypted malware that's designed to be harder for security tools to spot.

What's Your Opinion?

Have you perceived a falling threat from malware? Have you spotted any difference in the number of potential attacks through suspicious emails, attachments and compromised websites? Do you think the apparent trend towards more targeted malware attacks will continue?

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