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You won't believe these shocking true facts about viruses and hackers

You won't believe these shocking true facts about viruses and hackers
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

Due to all of the high-profile hacks that took place last year, 2014 became known as The Year of the Hacker. And, you should be ready for even more this year. Cybersecurity company Symantec released a report detailing just how successful hackers were last year and how that could affect us all moving forward.

Hackers have had a lot of success with "zero-day" exploits. Zero-day vulnerabilities are simply the security holes that developers and researchers haven't found yet. Hackers are locating and exploiting these vulnerabilities quicker than companies can patch them, which puts everyone using exploited software at risk.

The report is really scary. It also shows that cyberattacks were trending up across the board last year. Hackers created over 300 million new pieces of malware, and Ransomware attacks jumped up by 113%.

Crypto-ransom attacks, where the victim's files are encrypted and held hostage without warning, skyrocketed 4,000 percent to become a serious threat

Spear-phishing email attacks were down last year. But, that's not actually good news; it just means scammers are getting better at targeting potential victims and creating attacks. Data breaches from phishing email scams were up last year even though hackers were sending fewer phishing campaigns. Click here to learn how to protect yourself from phishing attacks.

Hackers are also victimizing businesses using something called Trojanized updates. They're designed to look like legitimate updates for real software, but they're actually loaded with malware.

Next page: Find out where cybercriminals are finding new victims.
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