Consumers Face Greater Risks From Malware But Many are Unprepared and Vulnerable

Consumers face the same malware threats as businesses, but often fall victim to inadequate cybersecurity protections, ReasonLabs reports.

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Many consumers face the same malware threats as businesses, yet they often fall victim to insufficient security to protect themselves from cyberattacks. In many cases, these are resources to defend their home networks and devices, ReasonLabs said in a new report.

Many individuals and home users are also burdened by using older antivirus products with outdated engines that need to be replaced, the New York-based consumer security provider said:

“One common trait that unites most individuals or home users, regardless of where they are in the world or what their socio-economic status may be, is the lack of adequate cybersecurity with the capabilities to protect their devices and home networks from next-generation threats.”

Key findings from the report

Here are the results of the study:

  • The emergence of metaversion and increased adoption of IoT devices brings with it new cyber risks, such as the metaversion attack vector identified by ReasonLabs researchers in 2022.
  • Malicious web extensions are becoming more widespread; 15% of all malicious extensions detected during 2022 came from users in the United States.
  • Trojanized software such as coin miners, backdoors, infostealers, remote access trojans (RATs) and spyware continue to be the top threat to home users and remote workers, accounting for 31% of all detections.
  • The increase in the number of HackUtilities detected from 4% in 2021 to 20% in 2022 shows that online piracy – the use of pirated or cracked software and apps – is either at or approaching an all-time high.
  • Cyberwarfare is increasingly affecting average citizens around the world, with the most notable examples in 2022 coming from Russia’s war in Ukraine. The study found a large increase in detections in Ukraine during February compared to January, signaling that the Russian invasion was also linked to cyber attacks.
  • The top five countries with the most detections per user in 2022 are Kazakhstan, Russia, Egypt, Ukraine, and Bolivia. While the list is diverse, more than 50% (11/20) of the most attacked countries are in Asia, while only 10% (2/20) are from Europe.
  • Phishing remains a major method of malware distribution that affects home users and remote workers.
  • Crimeware-as-a-Service (CaaS), the practice of providing cyber products and services to criminals to facilitate large-scale attacks, is on the rise. CaaS products and services typically provide ransomware, malware, phishing threats, and more.
  • As businesses improve their cybersecurity practices, attackers are increasingly targeting home users. The proliferation of remote and hybrid work has made it easier for attackers to access corporate networks through employees’ home networks.
  • The launch of the Ransomware and Digital Extortion Task Force in the US in 2021, along with government legislation on companies handling ransomware demands, means some attackers are targeting home users instead of large corporations.
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Kobi Kalif, CEO and co-founder of ReasonLabs, commented on the study:

“To protect themselves and their families from existing and emerging threats, home users should educate themselves about potential dangers and use cyber protection solutions such as next-generation antivirus software, VPNs, DNS filters and parental control applications. their digital devices.”

Looking to the future in 2023

Researchers at ReasonLabs also put forward some security predictions for 2023:

  • More sophisticated phishing and social engineering scams as consumers become more aware of common tactics.
  • The growth of Phishing-as-a-Service and CaaS overall.
  • 2FA will continue to be bypassed, which will likely lead to the increasing use of three or four factor authentication.
  • Unsecured consumers, especially young users, will continue to be vulnerable as they deal with cryptocurrencies, metaversion and other digital assets.
  • Continued introduction of next-generation threats as emerging technologies such as virtual reality become more common.
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