Microsoft publishes its latest Security Intelligence Report
Microsoft has published volume 10 of the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIR v10) with new data covering the second half of 2010.
In the United Kingdom, Microsoft found that an average of 8.7 computers out of every 1,000 tested in the fourth quarter of 2010 were infected with malware – this is directly inline with the worldwide Q4 2010 average score of 8.7. By comparison, the number of infected computers in Germany is still below the global average, in spite of more than doubling from 2.2 in the fourth quarter of 2009 to 5.3.
Source: Microsoft The most common type of malware and unwanted software in the UK was found to be adware, affecting 38.1% of all computers cleaned in the fourth quarter. While down by 0.1% compared to the previous quarter, this number is still more than double that of the worldwide average of just over 15%. Miscellaneous Trojans ranked second at 30.4%, up from 30.1% in the third quarter.
Microsoft's study collates results from a total of 600 million computers worldwide. The company analyses anonymised usage statistics obtained by its security programs and services, such as Microsoft Security Essentials.
ClickPotato was followed by Win32/Zwangi and Win32/Hotbar, each accounting for 11.4% of affected computers. Zwangi is a background service that modifies browser settings in order to lead a user to a particular web site, whereas Hotbar is a dynamic toolbar that displays targeted pop-up ads based on its monitoring of a user's browsing activity.
In the UK, Trojan downloader Win32/Renos comes in sixth with 4.5% but in Germany, it represents a more concrete threat and was the second most common malware detected (7.6%). It was followed by ZeuS (Win32/Zbot) at 6.9% and Conficker at 5.2%. Microsoft found key generators (keygens) for commercial applications on 4.2% of computers in Germany.
Source: Microsoft Attackers have seemingly rediscovered Java as an entry route over the last year. The third quarter saw a ten-fold increase in attacks aimed at Java. This high level was maintained in the fourth quarter, making Java by far the most common target for attacks. 85% of Java attacks attempted to exploit the vulnerabilities CVE-2008-5353 and CVE-2009-3867. Attacks on Windows in the third quarter also increased dramatically as a result of two operating system vulnerabilities, though Microsoft declines to specify which two vulnerabilities.
In a post on the TechNet Blogs, Microsoft Malware Protection Center General Manager Vinny Gullotto says that the company succeeded in purging nearly 19 million computers of scareware in 2010, noting that the Microsoft Security Essentials software surpassed 30 million active subscribers after one year of availability. "Through collective efforts – such as the sharing of threat intelligence and guidance, software providers making advancements in security protections and customers keeping their systems up to date – we can help minimize cybercrime and create a safer, more trusted computing experience for everyone", added Gullotto.