Hong Kong – April 18, 2013 - Today Microsoft Hong Kong released the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report volume 14 (SIRv14). In addition to analyzing prevalent threats from across the globe, including Hong Kong, the data reveals an important trend related to antivirus (AV) software (“Antivirus”). The study shows 2.5 out of 10 computers on average do not use up-to-date Antivirus. Without this vital protection layer, computers are 5.5 times more likely to be infected with malware, the report shows. Antivirus will reduce the risk of computer infection by 80% as it helps to guard against viruses, remove infections and protect users’ privacy.
In Hong Kong, SIRv14 shows that the following threats are most prevalent.
- The Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) detected malware on 2.2 of every 1,000 computers scanned in Hong Kong in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to the worldwide average of 6.0.
- The top three common threat categories in Hong Kong in the fourth quarter of 2012
- Miscellaneous Potentially Unwanted Software (42.3% of systems infected with malware in the fourth quarter of 2012, up from 34.2% in the third quarter of 2012)
- Miscellaneous Trojans (29.5% of systems infected with malware in the fourth quarter of 2012, up from 26.9% in the third quarter of 2012)
- Worms (14.4% of systems infected with malware in the fourth quarter of 2012, down from 14.5% in the third quarter of 2012)
- The top 3 threat families in Hong Kong
- Win32/Keygen (19.5% of systems infected with malware) - A generic detection for tools that generate product keys for various software products.
- JS/IframeRef (6.9% of systems infected with malware) - A generic detection for specially formed IFrame tags that point to remote websites that contain malicious content.
- INF/Autorun (6.8% of systems infected with malware) - A family of worms that spreads by copying itself to the mapped drives of an infected computer. The mapped drives may include networks or removable drives.
- There are 6.23 phishing sites per 1,000 hosts in Hong Kong, up from 6.01 in the third quarter of 2012, which is also higher than the worldwide average of 5.10
“People intuitively understand the importance of locking their front door to prevent their homes from being broken into. Computer security is no different. Surfing the Internet without an up-to-date Antivirus is like leaving your front door open to criminals,” said Tim Rains, director, Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft. With the release of this new research, Microsoft is urging people to make sure they have up-to-date Antivirus installed on their computers.”
"We anticipate that there will be an increasing number of cyber attacks targeting local organizations. The attackers are usually compromised machines infected with malware to form a large botnet. These botnets are controlled by hackers to launch Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks," said Mr. Roy Ko, manager of the Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Centre. "Users should deploy the appropriate technology, including anti-malware solutions, firewalls and the latest version of software products, to avoid being part of the botnet which can harm other users and cause damage to the Internet."
SIRv14 also explains some of the most prevalent threats facing international and local consumers online.
- Think before you click: Microsoft detected and removed malicious email attachments from almost three million computers worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2012. Users encounter this type of threat when opening documents, such as a PDF or Word document, that have been maliciously crafted and sent to them via email. Antivirus can also help to prevent infection from this type of attack.
- Bargain hunters beware: Keygen, a threat family commonly bundled with malware, was detected almost 7 million times worldwide in the fourth quarter of 2012. People seeking free, pirated or discounted software, movies or games online increase the risk of encountering this type of threat. Antivirus can help to protect against this.
To help protect users from malicious webpages, Microsoft and other browser vendors have developed filters that keep track of sites that host malware and phishing attacks and display prominent warnings when users try to navigate to them. Web browsers such as Windows Internet Explorer and search engines such as Bing use lists of known phishing and malware hosting websites to warn users about malicious websites before they can do any harm.
“Regardless of whether you use a free or paid for solution, the importance of Antivirus cannot be overstated,” added Rains. “By taking the proper measures to protect your computer, including the most basic step of installing Antivirus, people can dramatically reduce their risk of becoming a victim.”
To find out if they are using valid and up-to-date Antivirus, Microsoft recommends that people go to their system control panel to check their computer’s security settings. If they do not have Antivirus installed, they can download it from a trusted vendor. If you have Windows 8, then Microsoft’s Antivirus is already built-in within the system.
Microsoft releases the SIR twice a year to inform the public about the most prevalent global threats so they can protect themselves and their organizations. SIRv14 includes data from the second half of 2012 and contains threat intelligence from over a billion computers worldwide.
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