Cybercriminals release hundreds of thousands of new malware strains every day, much of it targeting Windows users exclusively, a new report claims.
Atlas VPN researchers concluded, based on statistics published by AV-TEST GmbH, that there were a total of 62.29 million new malware sample detections in the first three quarters of 2022, or approximately 228,164 new variants per day.
Of that number, 59.58 million new malware samples are designed to target the Windows operating system, representing 95.6%. Linux malware took second place (1.76 million samples/2.8%), while Android rounded out the top three.
Most popular operating system
According to Atlas VPN, between Q1 and Q2 2022, the mobile OS saw 938,379 new threats, or 1.5% — and for macOS, researchers found 8,329 never-before-seen variants.
The main reason cybercriminals are so focused on Windows is its popularity, researchers claim. Microsoft’s operating system is by far the most dominant desktop product out there, with about 30% of the global market share. According to Statcounter’s global statistics, Android has 43.47% of the market share, iOS 17.25% and Linux 1.08%.
Despite the dire statistics, the outlook is not as bleak as it seems. The researchers say that compared to the same period last year, the number of new malware strains has decreased significantly – by more than a third (34%).
Of all the different variants, ransomware remains the most destructive and thus the most popular. Other popular variants include infostealers (capable of stealing saved passwords, credit card information, keystrokes, and screenshots), cryptocurrency miners (aka cryptojackers), and bots (which use the compromised endpoints to perform distributed denial of service attacks , which can be sold as a service).