In 2023, cybersecurity firm Kaspersky detected an average of 411,000 malicious files daily, representing a near-3% increase on the previous year. Notably, they found approximately 125 million malicious files over the course of the year. The cyberthreat landscape has continued to evolve, and Kaspersky has noted a significant surge in the types of threats used, such as malicious Microsoft Office formats and an increase in the use of backdoors.
The company's detection systems discovered a marked surge of 53 per cent in attacks involving malicious Microsoft Office and other document types. These cybercriminals have adopted more dangerous tactics, such as using backdoors to infiltrate systems undetected. The findings, which are outlined in the Kaspersky Security Bulletin: Statistics of the Year Report, underscores the evolving landscape of cyber threats.
Windows was a primary target for cyberattacks in 2023, with it accounting for 88 per cent of all detected malware-loaded data on a daily basis. Meanwhile, the "malicious families" directed via various scripts and multiple document formats were among the top three threats, making up 10 per cent of all discovered malicious files each day.
Kaspersky's detection systems reported a significant daily increase of malicious files in various document formats, such as Microsoft Office and PDF, soaring by 53 percent to about 24,000 files daily. This growth is possibly linked to an increase in attacks utilising phishing PDF files crafted to steal data from potential victims.
The most prevalent type of malware continues to be trojans. This year saw a noteworthy uptick in the use of backdoors, from 15,000 detected files per day in 2022 to 40,000 in 2023. Backdoors are among the most hazardous types of trojans, enabling attackers to have remote control of a victim's system and execute tasks like sending, receiving, and deleting files, as well as harvesting confidential data and logging computer activity.
As the cyberthreat landscape evolves, it becomes more dangerous every year. Threat actors continue to craft new malware and attack methods. The number of reported vulnerabilities grow annually, while threat actors, like ransomware gangs, exploit them without hesitating. Vladimir Kuskov, Head of Anti-Malware Research at Kaspersky, speaks about the need for large organisations and regular users to "embrace reliable security solutions" in times like these and emphasises Kaspersky's dedication to tackling these ever-evolving cyberthreats.
Kaspersky's discoveries were based on the detection of malicious files from January to October and are part of its Security Bulletin - an annual series of forecasts and analytical reports on key shifts in the cybersecurity world.
The firm also advises users to protect themselves by not downloading and installing applications from untrusted sources. They are encouraged to create strong and unique passwords, always install updates, avoid disabling security systems, and use a robust security solution appropriate to their system type and devices. For organisations, Kaspersky suggests keeping software updated on all devices, using strong passwords, multi-factor authentication, and dedicated endpoint security solutions. This advice can help to ensure effective protection against known and unknown threats and timely detection and remediation of even new and evasive threats.