Urs Holzle, Senior Vice President for Technical Infrastructure at Google, speaks on the Google Cloud Platform during a Google I/O Developers Conference in San Francisco, California. A large portion of growth in TLS use by malware operators is attributed to increased use of legitimate web and cloud services protected by TLS, including Discord, Pastebin, Github and Google’s cloud services. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images)

Researchers have found that as Transport Layer Security (TLS) has grown to account for some 98% of all web page visits, use of TLS among malware operators increased from 23% of all malware detected in 2020 to nearly 46% today.   

In a blog post Wednesday, Sophos researchers said malware operators have also been adopting TLS for essentially the same reasons as legitimate companies: To prevent defenders from detecting and stopping the deployment of malware and data theft.

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