Over 30 million new malware samples found in 2022 as cyber threats evolve

Ruth C. | April 20, 2022

A new year brings new cyber threats. According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, over 34 million new malware samples have already been discovered year-to-date. It means that, on average, hackers have been creating more than 316 thousand malware threats daily in 2022. 

Malware is a collective term for all types of malicious software, including computer viruses, worms, spyware, ransomware, and many others. It is one of the key reasons behind hacks and data breaches today.

The analysis is based on the data by AV-TEST GmbH, an independent supplier of services in the fields of IT Security and Antivirus Research. The figures were last updated on the 20th of April, 2022.

Looking at the malware statistics month by month, January saw the biggest number of new malware developments. In total, 11.41 million new malware samples were registered in the first month of the year.

In February, new malware samples dropped by 22% to 8.93 million. They decreased again in March by 2% to 8.77 million. However, the newly discovered malware threats still amounted to 29.11 million in Q1 2022.

While April is not over yet, 5.65 million new malware samples have been discovered this month, bringing the total cumulative number of malware samples to 1,347.39 million in 2022.

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Windows users are most at risk of new malware

Nowadays, no internet user is safe from malware. Cybercriminals continually develop new malware threats to exploit both computers and mobile devices. However, some operating systems are targeted more than others. 

Windows users are most at risk of catching malware, with 25.48 million new Windows malware samples detected year-to-date, the majority of which are Trojans. 

Windows is not only the most popular operating system in the world but also is known to have many vulnerabilities across different versions of its operating systems, making it an easy target for cybercriminals. 

Never before seen Android malware threats were also identified this year. In total, more than 536 thousand new Android malware samples have been found. Meanwhile, when it comes to macOS, we see over 2 thousand new malware threats. 

How to protect yourself from malware

Make sure your software is up to date. Software developers regularly release updates that often contain security patches for vulnerabilities found in the older version of the software. Updating your programs and applications on time reduces the possibility of you falling prey to cybercriminals who continuously look for security loopholes to exploit. Read more about the risk of postponing software updates here.

Beware of downloads. Malware is often downloaded together with files and applications. Therefore it is highly advised to only choose apps from official stores and avoid downloading pirated files. Remember, new malware samples evolve constantly. So, it is best to be on your guard.

Avoid suspicious links and attachments. Phishing is one of the ways cybercriminals use to install malware into your device. Avoid opening links or attachments, especially if you were not expecting them, as they might spread viruses on your device. You can always contact the sender to double-check whether the sent link or attachment is legit. 

Use antivirus software. A trustworthy anti-malware software can help defend your devices against various types of malware.

Atlas VPN can help as well. Atlas VPN SafeBrowse feature helps to block malicious websites and pop-ups from loading, so you are less likely to fall for malware-ridden websites.

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Ruth C.

Ruth C.

Cybersecurity Researcher and Publisher at Atlas VPN. Interested in cybercrime, online security, and privacy-related topics.



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