The most dangerous malware of 2023

Malware attacks are becoming increasingly dangerous and damaging for businesses and individuals alike. For those who aren’t aware of the various forms of malware and refrain from implementing security measures, the risks of financial and reputational damage are higher than ever.

Read on as we unpack the most dangerous malware of 2023, followed by the role of antivirus software in safeguarding your important information.

The most dangerous malware of 2023

Malware in 2023

Malicious actors use malware to gain authorized access to data and systems, steal/encrypt sensitive information and often use it as leverage to extort money from the victims. There are currently over 1 billion malware programs installed globally, translating to approximately 560,000 new pieces of malware detected daily.

For individuals, malware attacks commonly result in lost access to personal files, compromised financial information and, in some cases, identify theft — among other possible consequences. On the other hand, organizations that become subject to malware face a host of risks: financial, reputational and operational distributions and losses among the most pressing. On average, businesses spend $2.5 million to recover from a malware attack. This amount contributes to the $6 billion dollar annual figure which represents the total cost of global cybercrime.

While attacks are inevitable, both organizations and individuals can help safeguard themselves by understanding the most pressing forms of malware and the role of antivirus software in preventing such attacks.

3 dangerous types of malware

There are many types of malware; below, we’ll cover three of the most dangerous in 2023’s online climate, followed by a few others to help prompt your own research.


Ransomware attacks are where a malicious actor(s) gains unauthorized access to and encrypts sensitive information for the purpose of receiving a ransom payment. Both the quantity and cost of ransomware attacks are increasing: The (conservative) average cost of a ransomware attack in 2023 is $1.54 million, compared to $812,380 in 2022. Similarly, ransomware attacks have seen a 13% increase across the previous five years, per a 2022 report.


Taking its name and concept from the war tactics of ancient Greece, trojan malware involves malicious programs that disguise themselves as legitimate software. Upon downloading the seemingly legitimate software, the malware infiltrates the victim’s systems, facilitating unauthorized access and control.

Trojan malware tactics are common — perhaps the most common; almost six in ten instances of computer malware is thought to come from trojans. Such attacks are not only costly for organizations without standardized, tested recovery processes, but they also take a significant amount of time to recover from.


Adware (advertisement-supported software) attacks involve displaying unwanted advertisements. The idea is that the cybercriminals are paid by advertising vendors either on a pay-per-click (PPC), pay-per-view (PPV) or pay-per-install (PPI) basis.

While adware is considered to be less harmful — yet perhaps more irritating — than other forms of malware, it does have the ability to track your browsing history and present ads of higher relevance, helping fuel cybercriminal operations. Notably, adware is particularly prevalent among mobile devices, comprising approximately 35% of all mobile-detected threats — the most of all mobile-related cyberattacks.

Other forms of malware

Beyond ransomware, trojans and adware, other forms of malware to consider and mitigate against include, but are not limited to:

Whether you’re an individual wanting to preserve and protect your own personal information, or part of an organization managing sensitive data that requires protecting, Total Defense can help to safeguard you against malware attacks.

Learn more about our range of anti-malware software solutions and how they can work to enhance your cybersecurity.