Increased Risk for Cyberattacks on Businesses Since Start of the Pandemic

Avast (LSE:AVST), a global leader in digital security and privacy, today revealed that the overall chance of business users encountering a cyber threat has increased worldwide year over year by 24%, from 11.25% to 13.9%. This insight is part of Avast’s latest Global PC Risk Report, looking at PC threats Avast blocked in March and April 2021, and the same timeframe in 2020. The report also shows that in the UK, the likelihood of a business user encountering any type of PC malware is 11%.

“In the pandemic, enabling the staff to work from home at such short notice has posed serious challenges to business security. Not every company was prepared with secure business VPNs and remote access solutions, and cybercriminals have taken advantage of this. We observed an increased abuse of the remote desktop protocol, and specifically have seen ransomware attacks become more prevalent,” commented Michal Salat, Director of Threat Intelligence at Avast. “Overall, the risk ratio of businesses encountering malware attacks has increased worldwide.”

The report also looks into the risk of ‘advanced’ threats hitting businesses. Avast defines more sophisticated or threats never seen before as ‘advanced’ threats, designed to bypass common protection technologies included in security software, such as signatures, heuristics, emulators, URL filtering, and email scanning. For this type of threat, UK business users in the reported timeframe had a 2% risk ratio, and global business users 2.29%.

The Global Scenario

Geographies with more conflictive socio-political situations seem to be facing more risk in the online world as well. Asian countries are among the top countries where businesses are most at risk, followed by Africa and Eastern Europe.

The top 10 countries in which business users are most at risk of encountering threats are:

All Threats 

Top 10 Countries Most at Risk:

Business Users

Advanced Threats 

Top 10 Countries Most at Risk:

Business Users

  1. Armenia (39.75%)
  2. China (35.66%)
  3. Vietnam (35.48%)
  4. The Republic of Korea (32.61%)
  5. United Republic of Tanzania (30.98%)
  6. Croatia (30.02%)
  7. Bangladesh (29.89%)
  8. Taiwan (29.25%)
  9. Indonesia (29.21%)
  10. Hong Kong (29.09%)
  1. Armenia (18.75%)
  2. Vietnam (17.82%)
  3. China (8.85%)
  4. Bangladesh (8.35%)
  5. Slovenia (8.15%)
  6. The Republic of Korea (7.10%)
  7. Ghana (6.17%)
  8. United Republic of Tanzania (5.54%)
  9. The Philippines (4.57%)
  10. Nigeria (4.44%)

For all types of threats, the geographies with the lowest risk were the Nordics, Western and Central European countries, in addition to the United StatesLatvia and the Dominican Republic. This changes when looking at advanced threats, where the common denominator seems to be the size of the countries with populations smaller than 11 million.

This report provides an overview of cyberattacks that happened within thirty days, giving insight into the general risk users and businesses face globally and in different countries.

Avast’s Global PC Risk Report provides a snapshot of H1 2021 cyber attacks looking at data from March 16, 2021 to April 14, 2021 and can be found in full here.

Global map images can be seen here.


The data included in this report is collected from Avast’s threat detection network, and represents a data snapshot, constructed with the threats Avast protected its PC users from during March 16, 2021 and April 14, 2021. In order to provide statistically relevant data, this report includes data from countries, territories and regions with a sample size of at least 10,000 computers belonging to home users that encountered threats during the month we collected the data, and at least 1,000 computers used by businesses. The data looks at total threats and advanced threats, evaluating the risk ratio for home and business users around the world.

To calculate the risk ratios for this report, we divided the number of computers where Avast’s protection layers stopped at least one threat, by the total number of computers Avast actively protected within the 30-day period.

When comparisons to the previous year were made, this refers to data from the exact same period of time, March 16, 2020 to April 14, 2020.

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