The most dangerous malware of 2022

2021 was, unfortunately, a predictably good year for cybercriminals. With remote and hybrid working solutions gaining popularity, people are using the internet in more ways than ever before, making them ripe targets for cybercrime. In addition, malware that targeted major government infrastructure succeeded with the Colonial Pipeline, which was the victim of a ransomware attack.

According to Check Point Research, there was a record average of 900 attacks per organization, including both large and small businesses. Overall, there was a 50% increase in overall attacks per week on corporate networks compared to 2020, with education and research being the most targeted sectors. At this rate, cybersecurity threats will continue to rise and remain a serious threat to individuals and businesses.

So far, a number of exceptionally damaging malware has popped up this year. Let’s take a look at some of the top threats of 2022.

The most dangerous malware of 2022

1.   Clop ransomware

An especially damaging new threat, clop ransomware can disable Windows’ built-in security safeguards, including Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials, along with over 600 other processes that might serve to stop it. Cybercriminals can deploy this malware to infect individuals or entire networks, making it exceedingly dangerous if a company network is infiltrated. Like other types of ransomware, clop encrypts all files on a computer and demands a fee to have it decrypted.

2.   Ransomware as a Service (RaaS)

Service-based ransomware has made dangerous and sophisticated malware publicly available for anyone to use. With RaaS, anyone who wants to attack someone else can hire a team of professional hackers to do it for them.

3.   Cryptojacking

A type of malware specific to cryptocurrency, cryptojacking allows someone to mine for cryptocurrencies without the need for common hardware that is both exceedingly expensive and difficult to maintain, as it requires huge amounts of electricity to function. It can be installed on phones and computers, which are used as tools for cryptocurrency mining. The cryptocurrency is then placed in a cybercriminal’s crypto-wallet.

4.   Internet of Things (IoT) device attacks

This kind of malware targets devices that typically have little security, such as smart devices, including speakers, doorbells and cameras. After infecting a device, a cybercriminal can gain access to any data that is collected and stored on the device, which might include passwords, home security information and microphone audio.

5.   Windows OS update ransomware

This is malware disguised as a Windows update. While not particularly sophisticated, this type of malware spreads via email and requests that the user install a critical Windows update with a provided .exe file. This file opens the door for cybercriminals to install ransomware.

6.   Zeus Gameover

An especially dangerous trojan-style virus, Zeus Gameover attempts to steal financial information to drain bank accounts. What makes Zeus Gameover special is the way it operates makes it almost impossible to trace. The malware will bypass centralized servers and create its own independent servers to share its data with cybercriminals, meaning stolen information can’t be retrieved or the source of the threat located.

7.   News malware

By posing as trending news, this malware encourages users to click its links to learn more. Clicking the link doesn’t lead to news, but instead makes the system vulnerable to attack by installing malware. Typically, this malware copies data on the infected computer to steal information.

While cybersecurity threats are increasing to unprecedented levels, you can learn ways to protect yourself, such as installing a reputable antivirus or security suite and keeping it regularly updated. It also helps to only use secure networks and to stay on top of recent malware threats.

Interested in staying up to date on the best ways to protect yourself? Follow our daily tips so you learn something new each day that can help you stay safe and secure.