I’d bet you a dollar that if you asked a normie on the street if they’ve heard of Linux, they would answer no. Even though Linux is used widely, including on Android devices, most people have no idea it exists. The two dominating consumer operating systems on the market are Windows and macOS.
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Linux differentiates itself by being open-source and free. This is the reason many companies and government agencies use Linux. Anyone can use the core operating system, which they can modify to suit a company or agency’s use case. This allows for significant customization and better security, depending on the distro and what goes into it.
But what has really kept Linux secure and primarily untouched by viruses and malware is its anonymity and unknown status among normie users. Because consumers widely use Windows and macOS, cybercriminals tend to program malware and viruses for those operating systems. It makes sense to target the segment where you will be most effective and gain the most results. Linux fanboys have long mocked Windows and macOS users making fun of the number of attacks they suffer at the hands of cybercrime.
But things may be changing. AtlasVPN has a new report that says Linux malware is rising. The report shows that:
- New Linux malware reached record numbers in H1 2022, as nearly 1.7 million samples were discovered.
- Compared to H1 2021, new Linux malware numbers soared by close to 650% in H1 2022.
- Windows had 41.4 million newly-programmed malware samples identified in H1 2022 — more than any other operating system.
- Android had 716,201 newly developed malware samples in H1 2022
- macOS had 4,922 newly developed malware samples in H1 2022.
The analysis is based on the malware threat statistics by AV-ATLAS, a threat intelligence platform from AV-TEST Gmb. Additionally, operating system market share data is based on figures provided by Statcounter Global Stats.
If we look at the new Linux malware sample numbers quarter by quarter, in the first quarter of this year, they dropped by 2%, from 872,165 in Q4 2021 to 854,688 in Q1 2022. Moving on to the second quarter, the malware samples decreased again, this time by 2.5% to 833,059.
Yet the cumulative number of new Linux malware samples in H1 2022 was 31% higher than the number of such samples in the whole year of 2021. In fact, the first half of this year alone saw more new Linux malware samples than any other year since 2008. Out of all the months, April had the highest number of new samples — 400,931.AtlasVPN
Windows still leads the market in malware infections, but it is interesting to see that cybercriminals are starting to target Linux more heavily. Check out the full report on AtlasVPN’s website.
Last Updated on July 27, 2022.