Perimeter
Guest Blog // Selected Security Content Provided By Sophos
What's This?
10/27/2011
11:56 AM
Dark Reading
Dark Reading
Security Insights
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Microsoft Research Shows Malware Infections Mostly 'Your Fault'

User vigilance is key to securing data, digital identities

Microsoft’s latest Security Intelligence Report (PDF) was released recently, and it showed a surprising finding: Nearly 45 percent of all malware infections cleaned up by its Malicious Software Removal Tool required a human to make a bad decision.

Am I surprised? Not exactly ... There has been a major shift toward social engineering in the past 24 months for cybercriminals. As we all do a better job of securing and updating our computers, the lowest-hanging fruit becomes ourselves.

In its 168-page report, the software giant describes phishing schemes, spam e-mail, assorted malware, and threats associated with social engineering as “entry mechanisms” for malware and a hacker having complete control of an infected computer.

While most of our Windows pain in recent years has resulted from poor security design and practices in the early days, Microsoft has taken security must more seriously in recent times. When all is said and done, it’s humans who respond to spam e-mail and announcements of free gift cards on Facebook.

Most of us aren’t great at reading a digital face over the Internet to determine whether we are being scammed: We have a lot to learn to be as good at it as we are in the real world.

Microsoft also provided evidence that despite all of the widespread, often corrosive media coverage about it, only about 0.1 percent of successful attacks resulted from so-called “zero-day” exploits -- which, theoretically, Microsoft can’t do much about because patches for them haven’t yet been developed. In its report, Microsoft found that those fears are mostly misplaced, arguing that the vast majority of zero-day vulnerabilities are immediately patched once discovered and are not commonly exploited.

This isn’t to say that Microsoft is innocent on all counts. We all have a role to play in protecting our digital identities, and with more than 80 percent market share, Microsoft needs to continue to proactively find its own flaws and make it even easier for the public to make the right decisions. With great power comes great responsibility.

Chester Wisniewski is a senior security adviser at Sophos Canada

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Partner Perspectives
In a digital world inundated with advanced security threats, Intel Security seeks to transform how we live and work to keep our information secure. Through hardware and software development, Intel Security delivers robust solutions that integrate security into every layer of every digital device. In combining the security expertise of McAfee with the innovation, performance, and trust of Intel, this vision becomes a reality.

As we rely on technology to enhance our everyday and business life, we must too consider the security of the intellectual property and confidential data that is housed on these devices. As we increase the number of devices we use, we increase the number of gateways and opportunity for security threats. Intel Security takes the “security connected” approach to ensure that every device is secure, and that all security solutions are seamlessly integrated.
Featured Writers
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading's October Tech Digest
Fast data analysis can stymie attacks and strengthen enterprise security. Does your team have the data smarts?
Flash Poll
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Considering how prevalent third-party attacks are, we need to ask hard questions about how partners and suppliers are safeguarding systems and data.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-3304
Published: 2014-10-30
Directory traversal vulnerability in Dell EqualLogic PS4000 with firmware 6.0 allows remote attackers to read arbitrary files via a .. (dot dot) in the default URI.

CVE-2013-7409
Published: 2014-10-30
Buffer overflow in ALLPlayer 5.6.2 through 5.8.1 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) and possibly execute arbitrary code via a long string in a .m3u (playlist) file.

CVE-2014-3446
Published: 2014-10-30
SQL injection vulnerability in wcm/system/pages/admin/getnode.aspx in BSS Continuity CMS 4.2.22640.0 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the nodeid parameter.

CVE-2014-3584
Published: 2014-10-30
The SamlHeaderInHandler in Apache CXF before 2.6.11, 2.7.x before 2.7.8, and 3.0.x before 3.0.1 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (infinite loop) via a crafted SAML token in the authorization header of a request to a JAX-RS service.

CVE-2014-3623
Published: 2014-10-30
Apache WSS4J before 1.6.17 and 2.x before 2.0.2, as used in Apache CXF 2.7.x before 2.7.13 and 3.0.x before 3.0.2, when using TransportBinding, does properly enforce the SAML SubjectConfirmation method security semantics, which allows remote attackers to conduct spoofing attacks via unspecified vect...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Follow Dark Reading editors into the field as they talk with noted experts from the security world.