A report by Kaspersky Security Solutions has revealed that about 28 million cyber-attacks and 102 million detections of potentially unwanted programs (pornware, adware etc.) were recorded as of August 2020.
The key highlight of the report indicated that the number of cyber-attacks were outnumbered by a growing trend in the use of “grey zone” programs which disturb users’ experiences, while users might not even be aware of their presence.
On the reason for the growing “grey zone” software attacks, a security researcher at Kaspersky, Denis Parinov opined, “The reason why ‘grey zone’ software is growing in popularity is that it is harder to notice at first and that if the program is detected, its creators won’t be considered to be cybercriminals.
“The problem with them is that users are not always aware they consented to the installation of such programs on their device and that in some cases, such programs are exploited or used as a disguise for malware downloads. This is why many security solutions, including ours, flag such programs to make sure users are aware of its presence, influence on their device and activity.”
Commenting further, a part of the report read thus: “Potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) are programs that are usually not considered to be malicious by themselves. However, they are generally influencing user experience in a negative way. For instance, adware fills user device with ads; aggressive monetising software propagates unrequested paid offers; downloaders may download even more various applications on the device, sometimes malicious ones. While calculating interim results of threat landscape activity in African countries, the researchers noticed that PUAs attack users almost four times more often than traditional malware. They also eventually reach more users: for instance, while in South Africa, the malware would attack 415,000 users in 7-months of 2020, the figure for PUA would be 736,000.”
The report indicated that PUAs are potent and more widespread than traditional malware. For example, the results over the same 7-month period in Nigeria showed that there were 3.8 million cyber-attacks and 16.8 million PUA detections – which is four times as much.
Kenyan and South African threat landscapes have been more intense. In South Africa, there were almost 10 million malware attacks and a staggering 43 million PUA detections. Kenyan users faced even more malware attacks – around 14 million, and 41 million PUA appearances.