As the world is increasingly moving towards a closely interwoven space through internet, security threats in the form of malware, viruses are also on the rise. According to a study conducted by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International, it has been revealed that nearly half of the people using internet (about 45%) admitted encountering a malware attack in the last year.
Among these users, Windows users seem to be the most affected as 83% of Windows users were found to be affected followed by 13% Android and 6% Mac OS X reporting similar infections. That however is pretty much understandable, as 80% of the overall market share in desktop OS is with Windows.
The causes of these infections range from visiting a suspicious website (12%); using someone else’s USB flash drive(8%) to installation of a malicious app disguised as a legitimate program (8%)or even by opening an email attachment(7%). At the same time 13% users were not even aware of the source of infection in their device.
80% of these infections caused some problem or the other to the users, the most common being the slowing down of computer (35% cases), 30% reported obtrusive advertising (e.g. the browser redirected them to unwanted websites) and 20% of surveyed users found unsolicited programs on their devices. The most dangerous effect however were the changes to the browser or the operating system settings without the user’s knowledge (17%), the loss (10%) or theft (8%) of personal data, unauthorized publications or ‘likes’ on social networking sites (9%) and hacking of a webcam (6%).
Due to these dangerous effects, one out of three users reported spending a considerable amount to clear the infection from their device making with average cost of an attack estimated to $160. This includes paying cyber criminals to unblock a device (11% of cases) or decrypt personal files (6%) after being infected by ransomware.
Kaspersky lab has recommended adopting simple steps to prevent such attacks and to stay safe.
The costs and unpleasant effects of a malware infection can be avoided with a little prudence. For instance, do not insert unverified USB sticks in a device, only use official app stores, keep the operating system and applications up to date and scan files with a security solution before opening them.
said Elena Kharchenko, Head of Consumer Product Management, Kaspersky Lab.