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Report Finds Arizona Businesses Hit Hard By Malware

Christina Estes/KJZZ
file | staff
A security research report finds Arizona businesses saw the largest year-over-year increase in malware threats.

A new report by a cybersecurity firm shows Arizona businesses lead the nation in malware detections. Malwarebytes examined data from its client companies with fewer than 1,000 employees.

In the first quarter of this year, Malwarebytes found incidents in Arizona increased 1,332 percent compared with the same period a year earlier.

“It’s really malicious software that’s been designed to take advantage of people and companies,” Michael Peters said.

He runs Scottsdale-based Lazarus Alliance, a cybersecurity firm. Peters’ company did not produce the report but said it’s a good representation. Cyber criminals, he said, are especially attracted to the health-care industry.

“Because a lot of health-care organizations are really behind with their cybersecurity controls and countermeasures and practices and things like that,” he said. “This information can lead to financial crimes and identify theft. Because there’s a lot of, you know, research that goes on in the state there’s also lots of intellectual property that is at stake here.”

He said 60 percent of small- and medium-sized companies that suffer breaches end up going out of business within six months.

“There’s a variety of costs involved,” he said. “Individuals do not tend to be exposed. In a breach, all of the company’s customers get breached. Maybe they lose their intellectual property so their business advantage is lost. You know the litigation costs, the reputational costs, customer confidence.”

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.