Malware variety sees major growth in 2019: Here is why

Malware variety sees major growth in 2019

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Web skimmers saw the biggest growth while cryptocurrency miners declined significantly.

New research from Kaspersky has revealed that malware variety grew by 13.7 percent in 2019 and the cybersecurity firm attributes this growth to a rise in web skimmers.

According to the Kaspersky Security Bulletin 2019, the number of unique malicious objects detected by the company’s web antivirus solution increased by an eighth compared to last year to reach over 24m due to a 187 percent increase in web skimmer files.

Kaspersky also found that other threats such as backdoors and banking Trojans grew while the presence of cryptocurrency miners dropped by more than half.

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These trends demonstrate a shift in the type of threats employed by cybercriminals who are constantly searching for more effective ways to target users online.

Online skimmers, which are sometimes referred to as sniffers, are scripts that are embedded by attackers in online stores and used to steal users’ credit card data from websites.

The growth of online skimmers’ unique files (scripts and HTML) detected by Kaspersky web antivirus rose by 187 percent to reach 510k. Web skimmers have also entered the firm’s list of the top 20 malicious objects detected online and they took 10th place in the overall ranking.

Head of anti-malware research at Kaspersky, Vyacheslav Zakorzhevsky explained why cybercriminals have begun to favor certain attack types while retiring others in a press release, saying:

“The volume of online attacks has been growing for years, but in 2019 we saw a clear shift from certain types of attacks that are becoming ineffective, to the ones focused on gaining clear profit from users.

This is partly due to users becoming more aware of the threats and how to avoid them, and organizations steadily becoming more responsible.

A good example is miners, which have lost their popularity due to lower profitability and cryptocurrencies’ fight against covert mining. This year we also witnessed growth in zero-day exploits, showing products remain vulnerable and are used by attackers for sophisticated attacks, and this trend is likely to continue in the future.”

To prevent falling victim to a cyberattack, Kaspersky recommends not opening suspicious files or attachments, not downloading or installing applications from untrusted sources, not clicking on links from unknown sources, using strong passwords, installing the latest updates and ignoring messages asking to disable security solutions for office or antivirus software.


The best antivirus software for 2020

Let’s face it… having one of the best antivirus packages installed on your PC or laptop remains a necessity.

After all, we’re no closer now to vanquishing the cyber-criminals and hackers that plague the internet than we were a decade ago.

In fact, cybercrime has actually been growing significantly year after year, which means that it’s clearly more important than ever to ensure that your computer and mobile devices are afforded the protection of the best antivirus out there, whether free or paid.

You may be most familiar with names such as Norton, McAfee, and AVG – but are they really the best?

Well, luckily, we’ve tested and reviewed the latest packages – both premium and free antivirus – from the biggest names in cybersecurity.

More than 80 antivirus and security suites have been reviewed and re-reviewed by our experts, as of December 2019, so you can be confident that our recommendations can be trusted and you find the very best solution to protect and secure your devices.

Creators of malware and viruses are always coming up with new ways to gain access to your PC and other internet-enabled devices (with your mobile phone and tablet included).

Luckily, online software security companies are also constantly updating their security software packages to protect against phishing scams, ransomware and all other types of viruses and malware.

At the moment, we think that Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is the best antivirus available, as it combines watertight security tools with an array of other excellent security features.

It’s also super easy to use, and best of all, it also offers extremely good value for money.

You can read more about what it offers below.

Together with Norton AntiVirus and Webroot SecureAnywhere, they complete our top three.

If you’re looking for all-round protection against the latest cyber threats, then investing in the strongest program is the best solution you can hope for – and we also have the best business antivirus plans if you’re looking to take care of your company computers.

That doesn’t mean you have to start spending big money either, as our guide also gives you the best available prices for the best software.

And if it’s the best free antivirus that you’re after, we have some top recommendations for you, too.

The best antivirus 2019 at a glance:

  1. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2020
  2. Norton AntiVirus Plus
  3. Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus
  4. ESET NOD32 Antivirus
  5. F-Secure Antivirus SAFE
  6. Kaspersky Anti-Virus
  7. Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security
  8. Panda Dome Essential

Bitdefender Anti-Malware

Bitdefender tends to be reliable and accurate in its virus detecting, boasting web filtering to block access to malicious sites, as well as a secure browser that keeps your online banking and shopping transactions safe.

Plus, there’s a password manager which auto-completes credit card details in web forms.

It also scores high for its excellent anti-phishing module, which alerts you to malicious links in your search engine results and blocks access to dangerous sites.

That’s not all: there’s also multi-layer ransomware protection that heuristically learns the behavior of such threats to keep you safe as well as the ability to scan all your linked devices via the Bitdefender Central mobile app. 

There are one or two issues – it grabs more resources than average, and might conflict with some programs – but Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is still a likable package that offers excellent detection rates, great performance, and more than enough bonus features to justify the price.

Bitdefender Internet Security builds on AVP and triples the number of devices covered plus offers anti-spam, firewall, parental advisor and file encryption features.

For a little bit more you can purchase the Bitdefender Total Security edition. It adds all of the above and covers up to five PCs, Macs, Android and iOS devices.


Norton Anti-Malware

Norton AntiVirus Plus is a top-quality malware hunter that can automatically protect your PC all on its own.

The newly christened product was rolled out in April 2019 as a direct replacement for the aging Norton AntiVirus Basic.

Moving from ‘Basic’ to ‘Plus’ definitely sounds better, but it really only adds a couple of extra functions – more on which will be discussed further down this article.

Norton touts plenty of tweaks, options, and settings for those who require them, not to mention features like a handy URL blocker, which keeps you away from malicious websites.

If that misses something, an excellent file reputation service heuristically recognizes suspect downloads instantly.

And, even if malware still finds a way through, intelligent behavior monitoring uses it’s up to date virus definitions to quarantine threats at the first sign of trouble.

If you’re more of a hands-on type, you can easily run scans on-demand or even set up and save custom scans to check just the areas you need.

Even schedule them to run at a particular time, but only if your system is idle, and it’s not running on battery power.

So what exactly does Plus do that Basic didn’t? There are only a couple of things really: it adds an extra 2GB worth of cloud backup and a password manager.

The latter is worth having if you haven’t got one already, though it can’t match the power of Dashlane and other market leaders.

There can be problems with some of the browser extensions.

For example, we’ve found the Chrome version sometimes stops working for no apparent reason.

We’ve seen plenty of reviewers reporting similar problems, so there does seem to be a real issue here.

That said, Norton AntiVirus Plus’s main functions deliver on all fronts: it’s easy to use, has the configuration options experts need, comes highly rated by the testing labs, and is meticulously designed to have the least possible impact on your system performance.

Webroot Anti-Virus

Just about every antivirus tool claims to be ‘lightweight’, but Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus is really the only one to deliver on this front.

Installation takes seconds, the program files barely use 2MB of your hard drive, RAM footprint is tiny, and there are no bulky signature updates to tie up your bandwidth.

Considering this, there’s no compromise on features, which makes it all the more impressive.

Along with the core protection, there’s smart behavior monitoring, accurate real-time antiphishing, a firewall and network connection monitor, enhanced anti-ransomware, and other interesting bonuses.

It’s not easy to compare Webroot’s accuracy with the competition, as the big testing labs rarely evaluate the company’s products.

However, when they are reviewed, they generally score high, and our own tests show solid and reliable protection.

There’s a lot to love about SecureAnywhere AntiVirus, and Webroot’s 70-day 100% money-back guarantee suggests its confidence in the product as well.

If you’re sick of overly complex and bloated engines, Webroot is a worthy contender for you.


That’s all we know for now :3

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Jonathan Terreo
Writing for me is not only a necessity, but a passion. As a child I remember always reading and writing, always with a curiosity that seemed to have no limit. I also remember when my first computer fell into my hands. I still retain the same fascination for technology, the same curiosity.
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