Avast Global PC Risk Report, H1 2021 Snapshot

August 3, 2021

It has been more than a year since Covid-19 started spreading and, in that time, the virus has defined the entire world, both online and offline. Avast observed cybercriminals using the pandemic to their advantage, spreading scams and phishing attacks to exploit people’s natural thirst for information during unprecedented times.

During this time, ransomware attacks continued to thrive, especially targeting medical institutions and critical infrastructure. Certain types of mobile threats, including stalkerware and adware, flourished due to people being forced into lockdown and likely spending more time on their smartphones and tablets. It seems like cybercriminals specifically targeted the most vulnerable groups of our society, some of whom were forced to use online tools and services for the first time. Cybercriminals began to promote mobile adware more heavily to younger audiences via popular social platforms, and performed ruthless technical support scams targeting the elders and the less digitally savvy.

This PC Risk Report takes a snapshot of 30 days in the first half of 2021 vs. the same time period in 2020, and specifically looks at Windows-threats targeting home and business users. It reveals that the pandemic did not slow down cybercriminals as, globally, online threats still increased year over year.

Home users have a 29.39% chance of encountering any type of malware, which represents an increase of around 5% compared to the same timeframe the previous year (28.08%). Business users have a 13.9% chance of encountering malware; this number has increased by almost 24% compared to the previous year (11.25%). Businesses generally often have more layers of protection in place than home users, making them a bit less prone to encountering malware. Nonetheless, enabling the workforce to work from home has posed serious challenges to business security and this can be seen in the increased risk ratio. With hundreds of millions of users worldwide, Avast has one of the largest threat detection networks in the cybersecurity industry. The attacks on these devices provide valuable insights and knowledge of the most prevalent threats and those who have been most affected by them.

This report provides an overview of cyberattacks that happened within one month, giving a picture in time of the general risk users and businesses face globally and in different countries. Cyber threats are not all the same, but for this report, we group the threats into two high level categories: simple threats and advanced threats.

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Cybercrime, Global PC Risk, Online threats, ransomware