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Over 100 Million Malware Infections Detected on Windows in 2020



Cyber Security - Investors King

Malware, a malicious software designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system, is one of the most common cyber threats computer users face today. While malware can affect any operating system, Windows users are among the most vulnerable.

According to the data analyzed by the Atlas VPN team and based on the State of Malware report by Malwarebytes, in 2020 alone, devices with Windows operating systems were affected by over 111 million malware infections.

Out of all of the Windows malware threats detected last year, 83% or nearly 92.3 million were found on consumer devices, while 15% or 16.7 million were discovered on business devices. The remaining 2% of the malware cases were unspecified.

Despite the impressive number of Windows malware detections in 2020, such threats actually dropped by 12% compared to 2019.

Malware infections affecting consumer devices fell by 11%, from 103.5 million in 2019 to 92.3 million in 2020. As workers traded their corporate offices for home ones, business device infections decreased by 24%, from 22 million in 2019 to 16.7 million in 2020.

The decline in malware infections might signify that cybercriminals have found other more effective methods to exploit victims online.

HackTool is the fastest rising malware threat

In 2020, we saw a fall in malware infections affecting Windows operating systems. However, despite a general decline, certain types of malware thrived last year.

HackTool, a type of malware used by hackers to gain unauthorized access to a user’s computer, saw the biggest increase in new cases detected on Windows last year when compared to 2019. Infections with HackTool spiked by 150%, from 7.4 million to 18.4 million in a single year.

Businesses experienced the most significant rise in HackTool detections last year. In total, 2.6 million Windows HackTool infections were found on business devices in 2020 — a 173% growth from 937.9 thousand cases in 2019.

In the meantime, consumer devices were affected by 15.9 million HackTool infections last year. It represents a 147% growth from 6.4 million such cases in 2019.

Other malware types that saw a surge last year include Rogue (117%) and Spyware (28%), which help criminals track and collect information on the victim.

However, the most common Windows malware threat last year was adware —  software that displays unwanted advertisements on people’s computers. It accounted for 32% or 35.5 million Windows malware cases in 2020, a 22% drop from 45.7 million in 2019.

Windows adware threats were the most prevalent on consumer devices, where 31.5 million adware infections were recorded last year. Simultaneously, businesses had close to 4 million infections with adware malware in 2020.

Trojan malware, which disguises itself as legitimate software and helps hackers take control of the infected computer, also continued to plague Windows operating systems in 2020.

In total, 29.9 million Trojan infections were detected on devices running Windows, which made up 27% of all such infections last year. However, compared to 2019, when 38.5 million Trojan cases were discovered, Trojan infections dropped by nearly 23%.

While 23.7 million Trojan infections affected consumers, 6.1 million infections targeted businesses. In fact, Trojan was the most common malware threat faced by businesses last year.

How to guard against malware

Malware is one of the most common threats. As such, it is easy to catch, while its repercussions can be devastating. However, there are a few things you can do that can help you protect your devices from malware.

  1. Keep your software up to date. Updated software contains all the latest security patches making it harder for cybercriminals to exploit system vulnerabilities.
  2. Be careful about your downloads. Downloads are one of the main ways to spread malware. Therefore, before pulling a file from the internet, always ask yourself two questions: do you really need it, and do you trust the website or the person you are about to download the file from.
  3. Do not click on suspicious links. Never click on pop-ups and links you are unsure of. They may lead to malicious websites that can install malware on your device.
  4. Limit file-sharing. Be wary of file sharing sites as they offer little protection against malware, which might be hiding in files, such as movies, games, and other programs.
  5. Use a VPN. Virtual private networks, such as Atlas VPN, have security features in place that block malicious ads and protect you from entering unsafe websites. This way, you have less chance of cashing unwanted viruses while online.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.


Flutterwave, 9PSB Partner to Boost Growth of Inclusive Financial Services in Nigeria



Flutterwave and 9PSB

Flutterwave, Africa’s leading payments technology company and Nigeria’s very first payment service bank, 9PSB on Monday entered into a partnership agreement that will help facilitate seamless financial services for Nigerians.

In a joint statement issued by both companies, the partnership seeks to create a seamless payment ecosystem by aggregating and simplifying transactions for banking agents, merchants, and consumers.

The partnership will also support the drive for economic growth through empowerment of the SME sector, entrepreneurs in FinTech and other industries, as well as contribute to the transformation of the informal sector to formal.

Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, held at the 9PSB head office in Lagos, the Chief Executive Officer, 9PSB, Branka Mracajac remarked that the collaboration between 9PSB and Flutterwave represents an important milestone in making banking services accessible to all.

According to her, the partnership supports both companies’ commitment to expand accessibility and serve as last-mile delivery of solutions to the unbanked, under-banked and underserved. She said, “9PSB, being focused on the presence in unserved, rural, and remote areas, has a unique business model that provides Agent Banking as a Service to our partners to drive financial inclusion. Expanding on our promise to deliver relevant products, with this partnership, our existing agents, partners, and customers will have a single point of entry to enjoy various products and services provided by Flutterwave.”

With this partnership, Flutterwave and 9PSB are jointly launching a suite of products to enable other corporate entities, FinTech, technology and other industries to take advantage of the robust end-to-end system available for payments, collections, and transactions for both the banked and financially excluded Nigerians.

Commenting on the choice of 9PSB as its settlement bank, Founder and CEO, Flutterwave, Olugbenga Agboola noted that both companies share the same vision and are committed to one goal of powering seamless financial services. “At Flutterwave, we believe in an ecosystem of shared value that transforms and impacts society. We are showcasing the power of strategic partnership and cross-sectoral collaboration in advancing Nigeria’s financial ecosystem,” he said.

A paper published by the CBN—Financial Inclusion in Nigeria; Issues and Challenges, admits that there is global consensus on the importance of financial inclusion due to its key role in bringing integrity and stability into an economy’s financial system as well as its role in fighting poverty in a sustainable manner. The partnership between 9PSB and Flutterwave keys into various calls for interconnectivity and interoperability amongst stakeholders in the financial sector in accelerating the country’s financial inclusion drive to create prosperity and grow the economy.

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HealthPlus Launches Digital ePharmacy and Access To Doctors



Health Plus-InvestorsKing

HealthPlus Limited, the largest and fastest-growing pharmacy chain across West Africa is set to revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry with the launch of Nigeria’s first ever e-Pharmacy. Nigerians can also now access a doctor or pharmacist instantly at a click.

Through the digitization of the Pharmacy and retail services, HealthPlus will now be transformed into a fully automated one-stop shop for Pharmacy Services Telemedicine Services Laboratory Services and, Beauty Consultation Services.

From the fully automated and interactive website, Nigerians can now access all the pharmacy services and consult a doctor right from the comfort of their homes or a click from their mobile phones.

According to Chidi Okoro, Chief Transformation Officer of HealthPlus Nigeria Limited, “we noticed a significant surge in online Pharmacy orders, and many customers organically resort to purchasing medicines online and getting them delivered at home. It is now considered not just the more convenient option, but the safer option as well.”

HealthPlus’ first-ever ePharmacy is in response to this shift and give Nigerians quicker access to the country’s best pharmaceutical care,

HealthPlus’ ePharmacy aims to deliver a user-friendly, all-inclusive online experience, that provides access to professional health care services using any device. HealthPlus ePharmacy is truly a ‘one-stop shop’ experience for health care services including telemedicine and laboratory services in partnership with healthcare providers such as MeCure.

In explaining the specialist nature of the ePharmacy platform, Chief Transformation Officer, Chidi Okoro also remarked that “our intention is to become the leading point of care for medicine use review, prescriptions management and pharmacist consultation services, by providing seamless end to end user experience. We will also be constantly updating our content with helpful information, articles, blogs, newsletters and company announcements.”

Amongst the new features, such as the “Speak To A Pharmacist” chat button on the site, the ePharmacy platform is interactive and gives better access to foster improved communication with our patients and customers. ‘

Afsane Jetha, CEO of Alta Semper Capital LLP, HealthPlus’s private equity investment partner, believes that this is another great stride in improving healthcare delivery in Nigeria by providing access to high-quality yet affordable medical and beauty supplies through a new and innovative platform. “We remain strongly committed to supporting the company strategically and financially in the years to come,” he assured.

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Social Media

YouTube To Generate Over $280 Million From US Premium Subscribers In 2021



Youtube - Investors King

YouTube Premium is starting to generate sustainable revenues from its paid ad-free subscription services. It took more than six years since relaunch to see significant growth. 

A recent report projects that with an estimated 23.6 million unique users by the end of 2021, revenues are expected to climb to $282.96 million in the US alone, representing an impressive +18% Year-Over-Year (YoY) growth.

Premium subscriptions are projected to top 25 million unique users by the end of next year, exceeding $300 million in revenues. By the end of 2024, totalling $334.52 million with nearly 28 million sign-ups. The projected revenues are expected to keep a steady growth after 2023.

Video streaming services are gaining popularity, growth accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic

In addition to promising growth in the US, YouTube Premium services reached 50 million subscribers globally since September, beating an important milestone. YouTube Premium’s recent success can be attributed to both Covid-related, as well as non-Covid-related factors.

The global video streaming market is expected to expand at a 21% growth rate between 2021 and 2028 – highly driven by the increase in smartphone and internet usage. Live-streaming, music streaming, the adoption of cloud-based solutions could all be contributing factors.

The HelpCenter app’s co-founder Ernestas Petkevicius commented on the continuous growth of YouTube Premium:

“YouTube is playing in its own category. I do not see any competition for user-generated content which is now the main driver of tutoring, know-how, and news/comments. YouTube has lots of quality content and an army of creators who rely on the platform as their main source of income. Music services and ad-free mode are only an extra catalyst for revenue growth. YouTube has no competitors when it comes to these services, therefore, the revenue numbers potentially could be much bigger.”

In terms of market shares, 39% of the video streaming market is found to be driven by the US and Canada, which would explain the US-driven revenue growth of 18% Year-over-Year (YoY). What is more, subscription-model accounted for 43% revenue share of the total video streaming services in 2020.

Music streaming is another possible factor for revenue growth from premium sign-ups. Music streaming market in isolation is expected to reach a good 9.8% growth between 2021 and 2027.

And even though video streaming was popular prior to the pandemic, the extreme acceleration in growth has been due to the COVID-19 crisis. As many countries declared nationwide lockdowns, people stayed home more, thus increasing the use of digital services like social media, as well as online video streaming. Consumer engagement on social media video sharing platforms like YouTube grew significantly.

Whether this growth is driven by the all-encompassing features (ad-free videos, YouTube TV, music streaming for $11.99), changes in the consumer behavior, or technological advancements, revenues from YouTube Premium subscriptions in the US are expected to keep growing at a steady rate.

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