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Chance of PC users encountering cyber threats increase

By Shannon Williams, 04 Aug 2021

The overall chance of home users encountering a cyberthreat has increased worldwide year on year, according to new research from Avast.

According to Avast's latest Global PC Risk Report, in New Zealand, the likelihood of a home user encountering any type of PC malware is 24.43%. Compared to the global average, New Zealand home users have a lower risk of encountering all types of threats, but have a slightly higher risk compared to home users in Australia (24.25%), Ireland (23.43%), the United Kingdom (23.26%), the United States (23.17%), and Germany (22.97%).

"The risk ratio has increased worldwide for all malware attacks, and we can see that New Zealand is no exception," says Michal Salat, Director of Threat Intelligence at Avast.

"In the pandemic, the internet has been kind of a life saver for many, empowering them to stay connected with loved ones during the lockdown, to attend virtual workout sessions, get togethers, classes, and work remotely," he says.

"But cybercriminals have also taken notice of this, and so we have seen a variety of tailored campaigns taking advantage of increased online activities, such as COVID-19 related attacks, sextortion campaigns, spyware, and ransomware."

The report also looks into the possibility of users facing advanced threats, which Avast defines as more sophisticated or threats never seen before, designed to bypass common protection technologies included in security software, such as signatures, heuristics, emulators, URL filtering, and email scanning. 

For this type of threat, New Zealand home users have a 2.63% risk ratio, which is lower than the global average of 5%, but slightly higher than France (2.29%), Switzerland (2.57%) and Belgium (2.58%), making New Zealand the fourth country least at risk of encountering an advanced threat.

The Global Scenario

Home users around the world have a 29.39% chance of encountering any type of PC malware, which represents an increase of around 5% compared to the previous year. The chances of users being targeted by an advanced threat are lower, but the proportion is similar to all threats, with consumers having a 5% chance of encountering an advanced threat (4.61% in the previous year).

Geographies with more conflictive socio-political situations, such as the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe, seem to be facing more risk in the online world as well.

The top 10 countries in which home users are most at risk of encountering threats are:

Home Users

Afghanistan (49.47%)
Yemen  (47.81%)
Ethiopia (45.84%)
Egypt (44.94%)
Rwanda (43.45%)
Algeria (43.34%)
Madagascar (43.03%)
Angola  (42.88%)
Togo (42.34%)
Serbia   (42.30%)
China (20.22%)
Turkmenistan (14.63%)
Afghanistan (14.13%)
Tajikistan (12.52%)
Yemen (12.46%)
Iran (11.85%)
Ghana (11.49%)
Myanmar (11.42%)
Uganda (11.29%)
Republic of the Congo (11.27%)
 
 

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