Microsoft: Rogue Security Software one of the greatest threats to Internet users

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Microsoft has released its 6th Security Intelligence Report, which provides a detailed overview of the changing threat landscape, including the discovery and exploitation of software vulnerabilities, malware and potentially unwanted software.

The global prevalence of dishonest security software that uses social engineering to obtain money or sensitive information from victims has increased significantly over the past 18 months. Three of the top ten threats discovered in the world during the second half of 2008 were the spread of dangerous security software. Win32/FakeXPA and Win32/FakeSecSen are among the top 10 global threats and not among the top 25 in the first half of 2008, both detected on more than 1.5 million computers in the second half of 2008


Rogue security software Families are among the biggest threats detected in many countries around the world, suggesting that appealing to people’s fear is an effective tactic to overcome language barriers. English seems to be the main language of social engineering security software, although some software families have been published in several languages.

Malware infection rates differ significantly between different versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system. Windows Vista was less infected in all Service Packs than Windows XP. By comparing the latest Service Packs for each version, the infection rate of Windows Vista SP1 is 60.6% lower than that of Windows XP SP3

The following map shows the infection rates of locations around the world, expressed in a metric called CCM, which represents the number of computers cleaned per thousand runs of the malware removal tool.

For the first time, Microsoft Security Intelligence Report contains operating data on Microsoft Office and Adobe Exploits observed in the second half of 2008. Overall, the data showed that attackers introduced an unprecedented number of vulnerabilities into the document format as an infection technology, affecting both consumers and organizations.

Microsoft encourages customers to ensure that they use the latest versions of all software, including upgrades to Microsoft Office System (version 2007) or Microsoft Office Live or Microsoft Update, to receive the latest updates.

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