Malware levels drop massively as PC users become more savvy


Ransomware may be gathering pace at an alarming rate, but overall malware infections are hugely down this year compared to last, according to a new piece of research.

Security firm Enigma Software measures malware levels across the US, and found that the average number of monthly infections from January through to July of this year was 47% lower than in the first six months of 2015.

That's a massive fall, obviously, and indeed the company notes that last month saw the lowest number of infections witnessed since April 2013, over three years ago.

So why the big drop? Enigma Software believes it's partly down to users becoming more aware of how infections happen, and essentially learning better security practices. In particular, more folks are becoming wary of installing apps, toolbars and so forth which are bundled with software downloads.

The security firm also points to browsers and software makers in general releasing more regular security patches these days, and also the transition to going online with a smartphone rather than computer.

Mobile mania

A spokesperson for Enigma Software, Ryan Gerding, commented: "People are relying more than ever on their mobile devices to do a growing number of internet tasks. PCs are still incredibly important, but as more work is done in mobile devices, that reduces time spent on PCs, which reduces infections, but it can lead to mobile infection rates to rise."

Even given these factors, though, the decrease in the numbers of malware infections is a very surprising drop.

Of course, as we mentioned initially, one sphere of malware which isn't on the wane is ransomware – the company found that incidents of malicious file encryption rose by 8% in 2016 compared to last year.

That said, the last two months actually witnessed a drop from the all-time high number of ransomware infections hit in April, but this is only likely to be a temporary state of affairs caused by a number of cybercriminal arrests in Russia back in the spring.

Enigma Software noted: "A brief hiccup in ransomware distribution worldwide is likely to be just that... brief."

Via: Neowin

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).