The number of malware-laden Web links clicked on by Australians has jumped significantly since the beginning of this year, according to new figures from security firm Trend Micro.
That company's latest quarterly security report found that Australians clicked on more than 45.5 million malicious links during the quarter just finished – a jump of 16.7 percent over Q2 (39m) and 41 percent compared to the figure for the first quarter (27m).
The figures make Australia the world's fifth most prolific clicker of malicious links, with an equally rapid-growing profile when it comes to malware infections. Some 14.4m malware infections were detected in Australia during Q3, up from 11.2m in Q2 and 10.5m in the first quarter of the year.
Australia was also ranked fifth on the list of countries with the most point-of-sale (PoS) malware infections, highlighting the need for vigilance during the shopping-heavy Christmas season.
“Our findings confirm that we are battling rapidly moving cybercriminals and evolving vulnerabilities simultaneously,” Jon Oliver, senior software architect director at Trend Micro ANZ said in a statement.
“With this fluidity, it’s time to embrace the fact that compromises will continue, and we shouldn’t be alarmed or surprised when they occur. Preparation is key and as an industry we must better educate organisations and consumers about heightened risks as attacks grow in volume and in sophistication.”
Citing the surge in the profile of security events thanks to the Shellshock vulnerability, Trend Micro noted a high degree of “high-impact attacks on businesses and consumers alike” through a range of channels.
Online banking malware infections rose from 112,000 in the previous quarter to 137,000 in Q3, while the number of phishing URLs blocked by the company's security tools exploded from 138,000 in Q2 to 721,000 in Q3.
Such figures confirm that the security landscape continues to get more dangerous for users, with Oliver warning that the influx of new devices continues to confound efforts to rein in users' exposure to security vulnerabilities.
“Understanding that cybercriminals are finding vulnerabilities and potential loopholes in every device and platform possible will help us confront these challenges so technology can be used in a positive way.”
This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.