Perimeter
Guest Blog // Selected Security Content Provided By Sophos
What's This?
10/27/2011
11:56 AM
Dark Reading
Dark Reading
Security Insights
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
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
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-2014-9676
Published: 2015-02-27
The seg_write_packet function in libavformat/segment.c in ffmpeg 2.1.4 and earlier does not free the correct memory location, which allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service ("invalid memory handler") and possibly execute arbitrary code via a crafted video that triggers a use after free.

CVE-2014-9682
Published: 2015-02-27
The dns-sync module before 0.1.1 for node.js allows context-dependent attackers to execute arbitrary commands via shell metacharacters in the first argument to the resolve API function.

CVE-2015-0655
Published: 2015-02-27
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in Unified Web Interaction Manager in Cisco Unified Web and E-Mail Interaction Manager allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via vectors related to a POST request, aka Bug ID CSCus74184.

CVE-2015-0884
Published: 2015-02-27
Unquoted Windows search path vulnerability in Toshiba Bluetooth Stack for Windows before 9.10.32(T) and Service Station before 2.2.14 allows local users to gain privileges via a Trojan horse application with a name composed of an initial substring of a path that contains a space character.

CVE-2015-0885
Published: 2015-02-27
checkpw 1.02 and earlier allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (infinite loop) via a -- (dash dash) in a username.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
How can security professionals better engage with their peers, both in person and online? In this Dark Reading Radio show, we will talk to leaders at some of the security industry’s professional organizations about how security pros can get more involved – with their colleagues in the same industry, with their peers in other industries, and with the IT security community as a whole.