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Texas is the Top Target for Ransomware

When it comes to the rate of increase and geographic spread of malware among businesses over the last year, new families are impacting businesses more and more rapidly—especially in Texas.

Malwarebytes examined first-quarter data taken from telemetry feeds of malware detections across computer endpoints in US small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with less than 1,000 employees. These findings, presented in the Malwarebytes SMB Threat Report, found that businesses overall, in all 50 states, have experienced a 165% increase in the number of malware detections quarter-over-quarter.

In 40 states, total malware incidents more than doubled, and Texas showed the highest total number of overall malware incidents detected by Malwarebytes, with one in every five threats detected. Other states with the highest incidents of malware detected among businesses include Alabama, Arizona and Maine. These states have heavy involvement in industries with high rates of malware encounters, including aerospace, automotive, healthcare, technology and oil and gas.

“We have noticed a massive influx of new malware types and attacks over the past year and wanted to better understand the threats that many of our business users are facing,” said Marcin Kleczynski, CEO, Malwarebytes. “Our findings demonstrate that the frequency of cyberattacks impacting SMBs has reached a level we have never seen before. Many of these businesses cannot afford even one breach, and have limited internal IT staff to help manage their security programs. As security professionals, it is our job to keep up with this rapidly evolving threat landscape and develop technologies that can protect against the onslaught of new attacks impacting our users today.”

Ransomware specifically among these businesses has reached new heights. SMBs in 10 states experienced a 500% increase in ransomware in March alone. In the data collected, the total ransomware incidents increased 231% in Q1 2017 vs. Q1 2016.

Over the full first quarter of 2017, the three states with the largest increase in ransomware incidents were Montana, New Mexico and Texas.

The report also found that adware continues to be the most prolific malware encountered by businesses, with massive flux and new variants abound. Thirty-three of the adware variants detected among the businesses studied increased in incident rate by more than 100% in Q1 2017. Additionally, nine of the top 10 adware variants found in 2016 have been replaced by new variants in 2017, demonstrating a rapidly shifting threat landscape.

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