Posted By: ITWiser Webmaster - Yorkshire's IT Specialists
Posted By: IT Wiser
Microsoft Reveals Increase in Deceptive Cybercrime Tactics
Microsoft has released volume 16 of its biannual Security Intelligence Report (SIP) – and it makes for both pleasing and worrying reading.
Covering the second half of 2013, the report reveals that Microsoft’s security development practices have been working to good effect, reducing the number of severe vulnerabilities in its own products by 70 per cent between 2010 and 2013. That is excellent news for the millions of Windows users that make up more than 80 per cent of the operating system market.
However, never known for resting on their laurels, cybercriminals have compensated for the improvement in Microsoft software by increasing the use of deceptive tactics. According to the SIP data, the number of computers that have to be disinfected as a result of sneaky tactics more than tripled last year.
The most commonly used tactic is a tried and trusted one: deceptive downloads – bundling malicious software with legitimate content such as security software, codecs, music, and videos. Such exploits ranked as one of the top ten threats in 105 of the 110 countries studied – affecting six in every 100 systems during Q4 2013.
In terms of malware, the Microsoft report reveals a strain known as Rothbrow as the most prevalent. This malware is commonly installed along with the popular Babylon Toolbar and is capable of disguising itself as codecs and security software, resulting in click fraud and Bitcoin mining.
Brantall was another malware threat labelled as responsible for the year-over-year rise in disinfected computers. Also installed via deceptive download, this virus was found to be bundled with genuine software such as 77Zip, eType, and RocketPDF.
Also covered in the report was the malware buzzword of the moment, ‘ransomware’. While Microsoft say that ransomware was not as common a threat as Rothbrow and Brantall malware, the consequences for victims can be devastating. Top ransomware threats Reveton and Urausy pretend to be official warnings from law enforcement agencies, accusing users of online crime and demanding payment of a fine to regain control of the system.
Tim Rains, Microsoft’s director of Trustworthy Computing, said: “Keeping cybercriminals on the run requires a robust security strategy; the safest houses don’t just have locked doors, they have well-lit entry points and advanced security systems. It’s the same with computer security – the more we layer our defences the better we are at thwarting attacks.” A timely reminder from the most influential PC maker of them all that Cloud Web Security is more vital than ever in protecting against cybercrime.