According to the Avast Global Risk Report for the first half of 2021, the likelihood of a home user in Australia encountering any type of PC malware was 24%.
That's lower than the global average (25%), but slightly higher than United Kingdom (23%), the United States (23%), Germany (23%) and Switzerland (23%).
Those in Victoria, New South Wales, and Australian Capital Territory had a slightly higher risk than those in other states.
"The risk ratio has increased worldwide for all malware attacks, and we can see that Australia is no exception. In the pandemic, the internet has been kind of a 'life saver' for many, empowering them to stay connected with loved ones during the lockdown, to attend virtual workout sessions, get togethers, classes, and work remotely. But cybercriminals have also taken notice of this, and so we have seen a variety of tailored campaigns taking advantage of increased online activities, such as COVID-19 related attacks, sextortion campaigns, spyware, and ransomware," said Avast director of threat intelligence Michal Salat.
Of perhaps more concern is the risk posed by 'advanced' threats, which Avast defines as more sophisticated or threats never seen before, designed to bypass common protection technologies included in security software, such as signatures, heuristics, emulators, URL filtering, and email scanning.
Australian home users had a 3% chance of encountering an advanced threat – lower than the global average of 5%, but slightly higher than France (2%), New Zealand (3%) and the United Kingdom (3%).
The countries where home users faced the highest chance of encountering any kind of threat were are most at risk of encountering threats were Afghanistan (49.47%), Yemen (47.81%) and Ethiopia (45.84%).
For advanced threats, the top three were China (20.22%), Turkmenistan (14.63%) and Afghanistan (14.13%).
The figures were based on data collected by Avast's threat detection network between 16 March and 14 April 2021. The percentages reflect the number of computers where Avast stopped at least one threat and the total number of computers protected by Avast.