270 Million Malware Attacks Happened Between January And March (2020)

While many parts of the economy are slowing down, hacking is not 

We have seen an unusual shift in the global economy as the coronavirus pandemic has taken over the planet. The business has slowed, and spending on purchases has started to decline as people become more cautious about how they live their lives. However, one thing that has not slowed down is hacking around the world.

According to Atlas VPN, there were 270 million incidents in the first quarter of 2020. The data was collected from three major cybersecurity companies: WatchGuard, Quick Heal, and Seqrite. While the data shows that the number of malware detections decreased during March (when 67 million incidents were recorded) compared to January (when 87 million incidents were tracked), the volume is still significant.

Those who fell victim to the malware were predominantly ordinary home users, who were forced to adapt to working from home when employers started sending their employees out of the office. Lax security methods and a lack of good equipment provided a potential gold mine for disreputable hackers to take advantage.

Attacks are likely to continue to increase

“It is safe to assume that threat becomes more active in the first quarter of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” explains Rachel Welch, Atlas VPN’s chief operating officer. “Many people started working from home, which created opportunities for hackers to infect unsecured networks. We can expect similar or even higher figures in the second quarter of 2020 ”.

A similar increase in the number, or sustained amounts of attacks, could prove problematic for users who still struggle to adjust to working from home. Malware discovered on desktop computers in the first three months of 2020 showed just how significant the damage can be.

The most commonly discovered type of malware was infectious malware, which was found in one in 10 malware incidents recorded by the company. Second in terms of severity was worm malware, which was viewed more than 25 million times during the first three months of the year.

What the worst malware does

The infectious virus adds to an executable payload and then spreads through a server or computer, spreading through other programs or networks that use the same software that was infected first. As for worm malware, “it spreads copies of itself to other computers without the help of users or other programs,” according to Atlas VPN. “A computer worm can harm users in the form of stolen data, overloading a shared network, or even taking control of a computer.”

Addressing the scourge of malware is becoming something that individuals, as well as businesses, need to consider more carefully as the likelihood of an attack increases. More home networks and computers are prone to this type of attack. They often lack the defenses that official networks would have.

Defend against the threat

Atlas VPN also analyzed data showing how the malware was discovered and repeated some household truths that we have known for decades. A network scan carried out by antivirus software, which monitors all the traffic that is sent over a network to a computer, managed to capture 37% of all registered malware in the first three months, more than 100 million malicious programs total.

Real-time virus scans detected another 59 million malware incidents or 22% of the total. And a web security analysis, which monitors threats on websites, often through built-in browser extensions, detected another 40 million, or 15%, of the attacks. So the message is clear: make sure you know the risks of these types of attacks. Most importantly, have antivirus tools that can detect criminal behavior.


Malware is extremely prevalent, but it is not impossible to avoid it. Many preventive measures are simple and require minimal effort or funds to implement.

In summary, here is how to protect yourself from malware:

  • Always use a trusted antivirus program from a reputable provider.
  • Perform scans regularly.
  • Always update your operating systems and software.
  • Use security networks, proxies, and/or VPNs whenever possible.
  • Don’t click on everything you see (a website or an email link).
  • Protect your username and password as if your financial future depended on it.
  • Know what the latest threats are and how to prevent them.

When you take these basic precautions, you will greatly improve your security and ensure that your computer runs as fast as it should.

Also Read: 4 Best Secure Password Managers In 2020

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