Why Almost All New Malware Is Targeting Windows 11?{Best In 2024}

Almost All New Malware Is Targeting Windows 11 – Over the past year since the release of Windows 11, there has been a noticeable shift in the targets of new malware.

An overwhelming majority of new malware samples are now being specifically designed to infect devices running Windows 11 rather than previous Windows versions.

Why Almost All New Malware Is Targeting Windows 11

Almost All New Malware Is Targeting Windows 11

There are several key reasons why cybercriminals are focusing their efforts on attacking Windows 11 devices:

1. Windows 11’s Increased Adoption

Windows 11's Increased Adoption

As more consumers and businesses upgrade old devices or purchase new ones with Windows 11 preinstalled, the operating system’s market share has rapidly grown.

According to the latest figures, Windows 11 already has over 20% market share, making it a significant target.

Cybercriminals go where the users are, so Windows 11’s expanding user base makes it an increasingly attractive target.

The shift to Windows 11 has happened faster than previous Windows upgrades like the move from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

This rapid growth has caught the attention of malware authors who aim to cast as wide a net as possible with new malware campaigns.

2. New Attack Surfaces in Windows 11

With each new operating system release, changes, and additions are made that can introduce new vulnerabilities if not designed securely.

Windows 11 has several new attack surfaces that malware creators are actively probing and exploiting:

  • The adoption of virtualization-based security features like hypervisor-protected code integrity and hypervisor-enforced application control opens new opportunities for vulnerabilities. Flaws in the implementation of these features could enable malware to bypass protections.
  • New Initial Access Packages (IAPs) in Windows 11 provide deeper integration with Microsoft accounts. But bugs could allow malware to abuse the expanded permissions of IAPs.
  • Major subsystems like the Windows Subsystem for Android could potentially be abused to run malware if not sandboxed properly from the rest of the OS.
  • The shiny new visual style of Windows 11 could also become an attack vector. For example, bugs in the theming APIs could be exploited to trick users with spoofed interfaces.

Overall, Windows 11’s extensive changes provide fertile ground for malware developers hunting for weak spots.

3. Under-protected Windows 11 Devices

Under-protected Windows 11 Devices

Many consumers are excited about the visual overhaul of Windows 11 and rushed to install it early. However, this meant that proper security testing and deployment practices were sometimes overlooked.

Consequently, there are many vulnerable Windows 11 devices in the wild that are easy pickings for malware.

Additionally, some key security tools and protocols available on previous Windows versions are missing or disabled by default in Windows 11:

  • SMB v1, exploited by worms like WannaCry, is still enabled by default in Windows 11 even though it’s disabled in Windows 10.
  •  Windows Defender Application Guard, which opens untrusted sites in secure isolated containers, is not enabled by default in Windows 11 Home Edition.
  • Older hardware vulnerable to attacks like Spectre and Meltdown cannot take advantage of newer mitigations like hardware-enforced stack protection.

This creates openings that malware authors can abuse on poorly secured systems.

4. Monetization Motives of Cybercriminals

The cybercriminal underground is motivated by profits, so malware developers typically target the platforms where they can make the most money with things like ransomware, banking trojans, and spyware.

With Windows still holding over 70% of the desktop OS market globally, it continues to be the most financially rewarding target overall. In particular, business environments relying on Windows generate the highest profits.

As enterprises continue transitioning to Windows 11, malware authors are updating their tools and infrastructure to capitalize on infecting these lucrative targets.

For example, ransomware groups are actively probing for flaws and developing exploits that can target Windows 11 specifically.

5. The Struggle to Stay Protected During a Transition

The Struggle to Stay Protected During a Transition

The shift to a new operating system always comes with growing pains on the security front. Malware and vulnerability research both require time to catch up and understand new attack surfaces.

Microsoft’s own layered defenses have gaps in Windows 11 coverage early in its release before threat intelligence data can be gathered:

  • Signatures and heuristics for malware detection require large sample sizes of new malware strains affecting Windows 11.
  • Artificial intelligence models used in Microsoft Defender Antivirus take time to train on detecting emerging Windows 11 threats.
  • Reputation scores in tools like SmartScreen that warn about suspicious sites are reset during a transition, limiting protection early on.
  • Even basic things like trial-and-error research to fingerprint differences in Windows 11 behaviors create delays in adding detections and patches.
  • This window of time where protections lag is the perfect opportunity for malware authors to strike hard against Windows 11 targets.

Steps Users and Businesses Can Take to Improve Security

Steps Users and Businesses Can Take to Improve Security

With its accelerated adoption and changed attack surface, Windows 11 is presenting lucrative opportunities that the malware ecosystem is aggressively pursuing.

However, with proactive planning, users and organizations can prevent infections and disrupt these cybercriminal activities:

For Consumers

  • Ensure all installed applications and programs are from legitimate sources and kept fully updated. Out-of-date software is a common infection vector.
  • Run reliable antivirus/antimalware software from vendors like Malwarebytes to detect and block known threats. Use real-time protection features.
  • Be extremely cautious of unsolicited emails, web ads, social media messages, etc. with attachments or suspect links. This is how most malware initially spreads.
  • Back up your important data regularly either offline or to the cloud. This ensures minimal disruption if ransomware does affect your system.
  • Enable security options like Secure Boot, TPM, and UEFI where possible to protect from advanced malware techniques like bootkit infections.

 For Businesses

  • Roll out Windows 11 upgrades gradually using controlled pilot testing before mass deployment. Move cautiously using phased rollouts.
  • Vet and test third-party software tools/utilities for compatibility with Windows 11 before approving them for enterprise use.
  • Ensure antimalware tools are compatible with Windows 11 and offer optimal protection, like using Microsoft Defender for Business.
  • Disable risky legacy protocols like SMB v1 through group policy settings.
  • Utilize network segmentation, next-gen firewalls, and EDR tools to contain malware threats.
  • Provide Windows 11 security awareness training for employees to recognize social engineering and phishing attempts.

The Path Ahead

As long as Windows dominates the desktop computing landscape, most malware will continue targeting it. But with proactive security, users can defend against these threats.

Over time, security tools and Microsoft’s own platform defenses will also adapt to counter the surge in Windows 11-focused malware.

Going forward, the popularity of mobile platforms and the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) may begin to draw more attacker focus there and slowly relieve the overwhelming malware pressure on Windows.

But for now, Windows 11 needs to be prepared for cybercriminals doing everything they can to compromise it with new malicious software tools and techniques tailored specifically to the newest Windows version.


Q. Is Windows 11 less secure than previous Windows versions?

A: Not necessarily. But like any new software version, it introduces changes that create fresh attack surfaces. Malware authors are probing Windows 11 aggressively right now to uncover vulnerabilities before defenses are bolstered.

Q. Does Windows 11’s visual redesign make it more vulnerable?

A: Indirectly yes, the new UI could potentially lead to bugs that enable spoofing or social engineering attacks. But most of the risk comes from under-the-hood architectural shifts.

Q. Are Mac and Linux immune from the malware targeting Windows 11?

A: Largely yes, since their limited desktop market share offers less financial motivation for attackers. However, no OS is 100% immune, so Mac and Linux users should still take precautions.

Q. How long will Windows 11 continue to be the prime malware target?

A: Hard to say for sure, but likely for the foreseeable future until mobile or IoT platforms significantly reduce Windows’ dominant market share among consumer and enterprise users.

Q. What should Windows 11 users do to protect themselves?

A: Use updated antimalware software, avoid suspicious links/attachments, back up data, enable security options like UEFI and TPM, vet third-party software, disable legacy protocols, and beware of social engineering techniques.


Windows 11’s rapid adoption and large market share make it an attractive target. Cybercriminals aim attacks where the users are.

New features and architectural changes in Windows 11 introduce fresh attack surfaces that malware authors are actively probing for vulnerabilities.

Many Windows 11 devices in the wild are currently under-protected due to rushed upgrades and default settings that disable key defenses.

Monetization incentives drive malware developers to target the Windows platform which dominates in enterprise environments.

Security tools and threat intelligence require time to research and adapt detections to a new operating system like Windows 11, creating a temporary protection gap.

Users and organizations can improve security by cautiously rolling out Windows 11 upgrades, vetting third-party software, using updated antimalware tools, disabling risky protocols, isolating threats, and training employees on social engineering.

The Founder and admin of techkarim.com, Who Likes To Write On Any Topic Related To Computer Query, Such As PC Hardware Problems, PC BIOS Problem and I have also best Knowledge in Android, SEO, and Much More.

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