Deceptive downloads top cyber threats: Microsoft

Posted on May 17, 2014

Deceptive downloads laced with malware are the most common cyber security threats, tech giant Microsoft reported on Friday.

Microsoft’s 16th Security Intelligence Report (SIR) showed that 95% of 110 countries in the study considered deceptive downloads the most common security threat strategy in the second half of 2013.

Such downloads are malware bundled with legitimate downloadable content such as software, music or videos. The malware’s effects may not be immediately seen when infected machines continue to function.

The SIR also showed that, in the Philippines, 46.3% of computers running Microsoft security products encountered malware in the fourth quarter of last year, compared with the worldwide encounter rate of 21.6% in the same quarter.

Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) also detected and removed malware from 32.1 of every 1,000 unique computers scanned in the Philippines that quarter, compared with the worldwide infection rate of 17.8.

SIR data also showed that the country’s encounter rate had steadily increased through 2013 while its infection rate shot up from the third quarter to the fourth.

The most common threat category, according to the report, was worms, encountered by 23.9% of computers. This was down from 29.6% in the third quarter of 2013.

The second most common threat in the PHilippines was miscellaneous trojans, encountered by 18.4% of computers, down from 21.4% in the third quarter.

The third most common was trojan downloaders and droppers, encountered by 18.3% of all computers, more than doubling from the 7.6% recorded in the third quarter.

Worms are a type of malware that replicate themselves and then spread to other computers. Trojans, meanwhile, take their name from the Trojan horse, tricking users into installing the malware.

“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 defenses, the better we are at thwarting attacks,” Microsoft Trustworthy Computing Director Tim Rains said on Friday, at the public consultation on the draft of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Cybercrime Prevention Act, at the Manila Peninsula Hotel in Makati.