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Wanna know just how bad the problem of malware is? According to a study by Atlas VPN, there were a staggering 62.29 million malware threats across the first three quarters of 2022, averaging roughly 228,164 malware threats a day.
However, there is some good news; malware threats were down by nearly 34% from last year. Malware threats steadily decreased quarter by quarter as the year progressed, with cases lowering by 4% between the first and second quarters and a further 14% from the second to third.
It was still no comfort to Windows users, as Windows earned the unwanted distinction of being the most malware-prone operating system in 2022.
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Read on to keep yourself safe from malware on Windows.
The most targeted award goes to Windows
According to Atlas VPN, 59.8 million malware samples were detected on Windows operating systems in the first three quarters of 2022. This makes up for roughly 95.6% of all malware cases detected during the same time frame.
Distantly following Windows for malware detections during the same period were:
- Linux - 1.76 malware samples detected
- Android - 938,379 malware samples detected
- macOS - 8,329 malware samples detected.
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Windows users could be vulnerable to certain malware.
Why is Windows so vulnerable to Malware
The simplest answer to this question is that Windows is by far the most common operating system on devices worldwide; therefore, Windows is the operating system most targeted by bad guys, simply from an efficiency standpoint. Also, since so many devices around the world are running Windows, when malware spreads, the number of systems infected can quickly become enormous.
Additionally, Windows users are far more likely to inadvertently download malware to their devices when installing applications sourced from the internet. This is because, compared to an operating system like Mac with a dedicated and safe library for application downloads, Windows users must, for the most part, download applications via a standard internet browser, a connection that is much more vulnerable to attack.
If you want to understand from a more technical standpoint, read on.
From its original inception (well before we all had easy access to the internet), Windows was designed to be used by only one user per device, which meant that the ability to password-protect multiple user accounts like we do now was not built into its original framework. Therefore, from the beginning, Windows was built without crucial security measures, which included proper user accounts and restricted file permissions that protected vital system components. Even though today, Windows does employ a multi-user framework (i.e., multiple accounts with separate passwords), it has never set up a firewall that is natively built into the operating framework.
This means that unless a Windows user purchases third-party security software and sets it up properly, their Windows system is still wide open to attacks from bad guys once they connect to the internet.
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How do I protect myself from malware
Malware comes in various physical and virtual means to infect your devices and networks. However, there are several steps one could take to stay one step ahead of hackers.
1. Keep your device's software up to date
To make sure your iPhone is up to date:
- Go to the Apple icon in the upper left-hand corner of your screen
- Click "About this Mac"
- Click the "Software Updates" button
- Click "Update Now."
To make sure your Android is up to date:
- Click Settings app
- Scroll to the bottom and click System
- Click System update. If there is an update it will display" Update available". Click it and follow the prompts to install it onto your device.
2. Lock up your tech
My biggest desire is to educate and inform you about the increased real threat to each of our connected devices and encourage you to use strong antivirus security protection on everything in your life connected to the rest of the world. The best way to protect yourself is to install antivirus software on your devices.
See my expert review of the best antivirus protection for your Windows, Mac, Android & iOS devices by searching ‘Best Antivirus’ at CyberGuy.com.
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For more of my security tips, head over to CyberGuy.com and be sure to sign up for my free newsletter by clicking the "Free newsletter" link at the top of my website.
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Kurt "CyberGuy" Knutsson is an award-winning tech journalist who has a deep love of technology, gear and gadgets that make life better with his contributions for Fox News & FOX Business beginning mornings on "FOX & Friends." Got a tech question? Get Kurt’s CyberGuy Newsletter, share your voice, a story idea or comment at CyberGuy.com.
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