How COVID transformed the world of malware
The COVID-19 pandemic transformed the world — and the afflictions of malware evolved with it, writes the security company Malwarebytes in its 2021 State of Malware report.
Why it matters: “The story of malware in 2020 … is a story of how the tools and tactics of cybercrime and cybersecurity changed against a backdrop of enormous changes to ordinary life,” says the report.
One big trend was the “staggering rise” in the use of stalkerware, writes Malwarebytes, with the company detecting a 1,677% increase in spyware on its Android product from January through June 2020.
- The use of other monitoring apps rose 780% over the same period on Android, says the report.
- “As the world locked down in April 2020, a tool that was once the preserve of nation states and cybercriminals became something otherwise ordinary people used on each other,” writes Malwarebytes about the spyware epidemic.
Some industries saw a sharp increase in malware detections in 2020, while others saw significant decreases.
- For instance, the agriculture industry saw a 607% increase in detections, while detections in the food and beverage industry rose by 67%.
- Meanwhile, detections in the education field fell by 17%, in the health care field by 22%, and the automotive industry by 18%.
Of note: 2020 saw the advent of a new ransomware named Egregor, which was used in “attacks against Ubisoft, K-Mart, Crytek, and Barnes & Noble,” says the report.