The threat of malware, viruses, ransom, identity fraud and so many issues as a result of being online and constantly connected on every device is not getting smaller, in fact it’s growing fast according to security software firm Trend Micro.

In 2022 alone, Trend Micro reports a staggering 146 billion threats. To be specific, 146,408,535,569 – that’s a 55% increase in blocked threats compared to 2021.

Now those numbers are global, and the problem of cyber security is a global one, but in Australia – we’ve got plenty to worry about.

The biggest concern for 2022 was identity theft, thanks to the failures of Optus and Medibank in protecting the personal data of Australians they were storing.

Trend Micro Identity Protection users are able to get alerts as to when their data is being shared or made available on the Dark Web. In 2022 a staggering 73.16% of all Trend Micro ID Protection users were notified their data was out there.

If that’s just your email address, it means an increase in spam and that means an increased overall risk of being scammed or infected by a threat.

Add in your personal information like contact information, Identity documents and more and the threat is very real – despite what Optus’ CEO might say, once the data is out there – everyone is at risk.

And at home we need to continue to educate people that every single device connected to the internet is a risk. Your Smart TV might be a gateway to other devices in your home – and for those homes using Trend Micro’s Device Security Ultimate, the average number of attackes per household last year was 118 – over one hundred potential attacks on your home devices in just one year.

Outside of device protection and Identity concerns, the “common” threats are as real as ever, and Australia is a big target.

Of the 3.4 billion Malicious URLs (websites) blocked in 2022, Australians were protected over 55 million times with our total taking us to 7th in the world.

Mobile attacks are a bigger problem for Australia on a global scale, we rank 4th in the world for malicious app blocking with almost 700,000 apps blocked by Trend Micro.

Let’s not be too negative, in fact there was an interesting positive I took from the Trend Micro 2022 Annual Cybersecurity report.

In 2022, Microsoft moved to block the execution of macro programs in Office Documents. Specifically they stopped macros that were downloaded or downloading from the internet, including those attached to emails.

Trend Micro say “This single action changed everything for threat actors. No longer able to use Microsoft macros, the threat actors started searching for and using alternative vectors.”

But don’t be complacent, they are and will continue to find alternatives, such as embedding their smuggled code into HTML within your emails – so again, Internet Security software is key.