Malicious office documents make up 43 percent of malware downloads

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Infecting office files has been a popular malware technique for some time but is still popular among cybercriminals as it allows them to evade many detection solutions. New research from AtlasVPN reveals that 43 percent of all malware downloads in the second quarter of this year were malicious office documents.

This is an increase from the same period in 2020 when only 14 percent of malware came in office files. In the third quarter of last year the volume jumped to 38 percent before declining to 34 percent in Q4 2020 and Q1 2021.

The Emotet malware was being spread via Word documents before being disrupted in early 2021 by global law enforcement agencies. What made Emotet particularly dangerous is that it opened doors for other malware installations such as information stealers, trojans, and ransomware. Clearly Emotet's success has prompted other cybercriminals to try their hand at similar infection techniques.

Cybersecurity writer and researcher at Atlas VPN William Sword says, "Cybercriminals have benefited from the popularity of Microsoft Office and Google Docs by inserting malicious code into the files. Organizations must implement and maintain a cybersecurity strategy addressing both the technological and human components to protect users from falling victim to malware threats."

You can read more, including tips on protecting against this kind of attack, on the AtlasVPN blog.

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