State of Malware report 2024

State of Malware 2024: What consumers need to know

Released today, the Malwarebytes State of Malware 2024 report takes a deep dive into the latest developments in the world of cybercrime. 

As home users, many of the threats we cover will only affect you second hand, such as disruptions after a company suffers a ransomware attack, or when your private information is sold online after a data breach. Sadly, there’s not a lot you can do to prevent incidents like these yourself, other than stay on top of the news and protect yourself against identity theft

But other threats you can do something about. So in this article we’ll focus on what threats affect you directly and how you can protect yourself. 


In the last year, the UK’s Online Safety Act attempted to challenge the status quo for social media and messaging companies. The act was widely interpreted as a demand that companies scan users’ messages for illegal material, and is a first warning about the directions in which privacy may continue to be threatened in the name of greater good.  

It also acts as a reminder to be careful about what you share, even if you are under the impression that you are using the internet securely. We have seen news of ChatGPT leaking user’s information and law enforcement asking for backdoors in encryption routines. 


Google and Microsoft made good on their promise to back passkeys, an encryption-based alternative to passwords that can’t be stolen, guessed, cracked, or phished.

We’d like to see more companies embrace new methods of authentication and wave passwords goodbye: Too many breaches have shown us that user education only works for those that were already doing the right things. Keeping track of the hundreds of passwords an average user has, along with the relative complexity of using a password manager have convinced us it’s time for a better alternative. 


If the last year has taught us something, it’s that scammers and malware peddlers can afford to buy sponsored search results and outbid the brand owner so that their links come out on top. Cybercriminals create Google Search ads mimicking popular brands, which lead to highly realistic, replica web pages where users are scammed or tricked into downloading malware. 

Despite efforts on the side of search providers like Google, the cybercriminals remained one step ahead, able to consistently bypass ad verification checks all year. The type of malware that’s used varies with each campaign but infostealers (which gather information from your computer, such as usernames and passwords) were the most common type. 

Banking Trojans 

Banking trojans are one of the most serious threats facing Android devices. Banking trojans come disguised as regular apps like QR code scanners, fitness trackers, or even copies of popular apps like Instagram. 

The malicious app asks the user for permissions that allow it to monitor what happens in other apps and will then create overlay screens for legitimate apps. This allows them to capture login credentials and even multi-factor authentication (MFA) tokens.

Mac malware 

The days of “my Mac is safe” and “Macs don’t get malware” are definitely over. There are many signs that criminals are taking note of the platform’s increasing popularity by enabling attacks to target both Windows and Mac users at the same time. 

Contrary to outdated beliefs, malware for Macs has always existed, it was just considered less serious since most Mac malware was adware or potentially unwanted programs (PUPs). This is changing. For example, in September, 2023, Malwarebytes discovered a cybercriminal campaign spreading Atomic Stealer (AMOS) malware to Mac users through malicious ads. AMOS malware can steal passwords from browsers and Apple’s Keychain, as well as grab files.


Malwarebytes has solutions to safeguard individuals’ data and identities. We can protect your Android and iOS devices, Macs, Chromebooks, and Windows systems. We also have software to protect your identity, safeguard your online privacy, and block unwanted ads and trackers.