Bitdefender Reveals the Top Cyber Threats Faced by Consumers in 2021

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2021 marked a peak in digital activity around the globe, mainly driven by the COVID pandemic. The rapid digitalization of work, services and other daily activities meant cybercriminals could prey on the low-hanging fruit, day in and day out, by distributing malware and social engineering campaigns meant to capitalize on the disrupted landscape.

As digital activity reached an all-time high in 2021, careless consumer behavior further fueled the rapid expansion of the global cyberthreat landscape.

In this year’s edition of Bitdefender’s Consumer Threat Landscape Report, we show how smart devices continue to present security challenges, with neither the mobile industry nor the IoT ecosystem able to make necessary changes in their security posture. In other words, many security issues that plagued internet-connected gizmos in the past are still present. Even Android stores remain an important infection vector, despite their supposed inherent security.

Throughout 2021, spammers kept busy distributing fraudulent correspondence across the globe. The socio-economic changes brought on by the pandemic reinforced delivery tactics and offered new topics, with malicious actors continuing to piggyback on COVID-related subjects. Healthcare-related spam accounted for nearly a fifth of the world’s spam, by volume.

As the global population settled into its second year of lockdowns and travel restrictions, cyber behaviors rooted in 2020 quickly solidified, taking a heavy toll on the security and privacy of consumers. Theme-wise, scammers built an impressive spam menu experimenting and building upon previous campaigns with a clear focus on malware distribution, extortion and phishing.

Of the many threats we’ve seen targeting Windows systems last year, five key categories have remained in place: Exploits, Trojans, Ransomware, Coin-Miners, and Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUA). Macs face slightly less variance in terms of malware.

Trojans are the most common type of malware on both Mac and Windows, while PUAs make up a third of all threats directed at Windows systems, and Macs surprisingly drive quite a bit of crypto mining – especially in Australia.

These findings, and many others, are detailed in our free-to-download report at the link below.

Bitdefender’s Consumer Threat Landscape Report