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NZ Windows users at risk of devastating cyber attacks

By Shannon Williams
Wed 6 Apr 2022

New Zealand businesses are at risk of encountering devastating cyber attacks, according to the 2021 Global PC Risk Report from digital security and privacy company Avast. 

The report looks at the threats home and business Windows users encountered over the course of the past year. New Zealand business users ranked 62nd out of the 77 countries included in the report. On average, business users around the world had a 15.10% chance of encountering a threat, and in New Zealand, business users had a 14.22% chance of encountering a threat.

"While businesses are less at risk of encountering a threat than consumers, they more often than not have more to lose if they do fall victim," says Jakub Kroustek, Avast malware research director.

"Digital threats put businesses' productivity, profits, and their reputation on the line. One attack can potentially cost a business profitability, productivity, or the entire business, depending on the severity," he says. 

"We observed a decline in ransomware attacks at the end of 2021 as a result of the coordinated cooperation of nations, government agencies, and security vendors to tackle ransomware gangs," Kroustek says. 

"Unfortunately, the ongoing war in Ukraine could spill over into the cyber world, as we have seen in the past, and businesses worldwide could be affected."

The countries in which business users are most at risk of encountering threats are:
Vietnam (37.80%)
China (35.65%)
Tanzania (35.29%)
Pakistan (35.61%)
Croatia (32.55%)
Bulgaria (31.64%)
Mozambique (30.54%)
Indonesia (30.29%)
Bangladesh (30.07%)
Taiwan (29.78%) 

The ten countries with the lowest risk of encountering threats are:
Sweden (9.52%)
Norway (10.86%)
Luxembourg (11.24%)
Ireland (11.52%)
United Kingdom (11.71%)
Germany (11.83%)
Puerto Rico (11.86%)
Netherlands (11.86%)
Switzerland (12.00%)
United States (12.60%) 

According to the report, business users are less at risk than home users of encountering threats, as they often have layers of protection in place, and their networks and devices are often managed by IT-Security professionals, preventing them from encountering threats in the first place.

 The data included in this report was collected from Avast's threat detection network, and represents the average ratio of Avast users protected monthly from at least one threat divided by the total number of monthly active Avast users from January 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021. In order to provide statistically relevant data, this report includes data from countries and territories with a sample size of at least 10,000 computers belonging to home users that encountered threats during the months the data was collected, and at least 1,000 computers used by businesses. The regional breakdowns included in this report includes data from regions with a sample size of at least 1,000 computers belonging to home users that encountered threats during the months the data was collected and at least 100 computers used by businesses. 

With hundreds of millions of users worldwide, Avast has one of the largest threat detection networks in the cybersecurity industry. The attacks on these devices provide valuable insights and knowledge of the most prevalent threats and those who have been most affected by them. 

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