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Read This Before Downloading A PDF Directly From Google Search Results – It Could Be A Virus

Phishing tops the crime list of the FBI’s Internet Crime Report 2021 with 323,972 victims reporting a crime of this type. The victim loss for phishing exceeded $44.2 million, and the victim loss for malware, scareware, or virus was about $5.5 million. Phishing as a trend is skyrocketing. In 2019, the count of phishing victims was just 114,702. Once a threat gains access to code execution on a device or network, it owns, controls, and can deploy all sorts of attacks, from data breaches to encryption ransomware. Malicious PDFs ranking in search engines can also be used to redirect victims to spam, scam, and malware distribution sites. 

Netskope recommends users and organizations scan everything and avoid app suites with cloud storage ranking high in malware downloads. Security and threat protection software must always be updated and running to detect and block malware in all endpoints. Additionally, risky websites should be blocked, safe and trusted apps should be used over alternatives, PDF sources should be checked, and only trusted PDF readers that have built-in security and prevent the code of a PDF from “talking” outside of the file with your device or computer should be used. Finally, users should always create strong passwords and set up two-factor authentication.

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