I got into the office this morning and noticed that volume six of the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIRv6) was released earlier today. For those of you who are not familiar with the report, the SIR is published by Microsoft twice per year. Each volume of the SIR looks at the data and trends observed in the first and second halves of each calendar year with a focus on malware data, software vulnerability disclosure data, vulnerability exploit data, and related trends.
A trend that the SIR calls out right up front was around rogue security software. The second half of 2008 saw a clear rise in prevalence of rogue security software (software which poses as anti-malware or anti-spyware protection but in reality does little or nothing, and may even be malware!). While I knew the issue was out there and even had to help a good friend clean his system after being duped, the rise was eye-opening for me. The take away: be careful out there! Get your software from a trusted source and keep it up-to-date with the latest Windows Updates. Be cautious not to follow advertisements for unknown software that pretends to provide protection. Access the sites of reputable vendors directly for information or subscription to their products and services.
Another piece of data I that I wanted to pass along deals with the infection rates of Windows, as shown in the graph below:
What this graph tells me is that the infection rate for Windows Vista is significantly lower than that of its predecessor, Windows XP, in all configurations. It also tells me that the higher the service pack level of an OS, the lower the infection rate. Once again, this really points out that you need to keep your software up-to-date!
I encourage you to download the full report and hope that you find the data, insights, and guidance provided in the SIR useful in helping you understand today’s threat landscape and ultimately help you protect your networks and users.
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