Every day there seems to be a new story about a cybersecurity breach or hacking that causes devastation and destruction – we regularly cover them here on the Panda Security blog. So it makes a pleasant change to write about something more positive occasionally – like a significant reduction in malware incidents.

According to a recent study published in Infosecurity Magazine, malware incidents fell by 23% last year. In 2018, malware was the cause of nearly half (45%) of all reported cybersecurity incidents. A year later just 22% were caused by viruses, ransomware and other malware variants.

There are suggestions that cryptocurrency malware attacks are also declining.

A win for home users

Fewer malware incidents tells us three things. First, computer owners are getting to grips with cybersecurity, using anti-malware tools to prevent their PCs and mobile devices from becoming infected.

Second, people are becoming more aware of cybersecurity risks in general. They are not being tricked into opening email attachments from unknown senders or visiting malware-infected phishing websites as often.

Third, hackers are being forced to change the way they select and attack victims. As anti-malware tools get smarter and more effective, criminals must use other techniques to break into computers.

This is great news for home computer users. Now that hacking home computers is becoming harder, hackers are more likely to focus on attacking corporate IT systems in future because the potential rewards are far greater.

Keep up the good work

This is the first time that malware attack rates have fallen – it may be that 2019 was the year that home computer owners finally began to fight back. But these successes could be lost if we do not remain vigilant; new malware is always being developed, so we must be prepared to defend against it.

Whatever happens, we know that criminals are not simply going to “give up”. Although the rate of malware incidents has reduced, the overall number of cybersecurity events has continued to climb, up by 34.4% in just one year.

Choosing an intelligent anti-malware system to protect your computers, smartphones and tablets will be a crucial first step. By having anti-malware installed in advance, you can completely avoid being infected in the first place. You can find a 1-month free trial of Panda Dome here.

Similarly, we all need to stay aware. A reduction in malware attacks does not mean criminals have given up – they will simply change the way they operate.

Often it is easier and more effective to simply ask someone for their passwords. By pretending to be your bank, utility provider or even your boss, hackers will try and get hold of those details. Because they are so effective we may see an increase in phishing and social engineering scams over the next few years.

As always, our advice is to install anti-malware and to stay aware. If you ever see something that doesn’t look quite right in your email or on the web, stay away – your suspicions are probably correct.

Take a look at our article 6 tips for safe Web browsing to learn more.

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