But Windows is still the operating system targeted by ransomware the most. Nearly 70% of the over 600 million pieces of malware AV-Test examined were Windows-based, according to the report. By comparison, Android malware made up just 5.6%.
Overall, there was a 15% decline in new malware developed for Windows in 2016 compared year-over-year, AV-Test found. Meanwhile, threats to Linux systems increased 300% in 2016, and malware for macOS rose 37%, according to AV-Test.
In all, almost seven out of 10 new malware programs targeted the Microsoft platform last year. And because Windows is so widely used, the damage, when it occurs, can be widespread. Just consider the impact of WannaCry and Nyetya on systems around the world.
But the ransomware impact is not as widespread as the news might make people think. Nyetya, for example, turned out to be a wiper virus designed as a ransomware attack. Depending on whether attackers are looking for a profit or to create chaos will in part dictate what kind of malware is used.
Microsoft has found itself in an unenviable position lately. While the company now offers the Windows 10 OS, which it touts is the most secure version, hackers continue to find more holes in Windows 7 and other older versions of Windows software.
Microsoft has implored users to upgrade their software, but large system upgrades are expensive and take time. Meanwhile, Microsoft is looking for ways to stop the bleeding. This week the company introduced "controlled folder access" to help protect files and information from ransomware attack.