On average, adults in the U.S. have experienced at least eight different types of online scams. According to the Microsoft Scam Defense Survey, individuals are most vulnerable to risks such as fraudulent and malicious links, online identity theft, and the loss of sensitive personal information.
Deceptive tactics are becoming even more effective at tricking even the most aware. For example, rogue security software often disguises itself as virus alerts, displaying fake warnings with the intent to confuse unfamiliar users.
Consumers can learn to become more savvy when it comes to identifying these scam attempts by using the new Real vs. Rogue Facebook app from Microsoft. This app features an interactive quiz that uses actual scam screen images to walk people through a number of security scenarios, and helps them learn to tell if a security warning is from real antivirus software or from rogue security software.
Sixty two percent of adults doubt they will ever fall victim to an online ruse, yet only 12 percent said they feel fully protected. As part of shoring up defenses against online fraud, the Real vs. Rogue Facebook app can help people learn to think twice before clicking on a security warning.
Operating System Infection Rates: Application Vulnerabilities & Exploits Trend Up, Increase OS Infection Rates
One topic that I get asked about each time we release a new volume of the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report is malware infection rates for operating systems and service packs. We released new data late this year in volume 13 of the report (SIRv13). Accordingly, I am dedicating a couple of articles to discussing the new malware infection rate data for operating systems and service packs.
The latest data published in SIRv13, focusing on the first half of 2012, shows that newer operating systems, such as Windows 7 and Windows Vista, continue to have lower malware infection rates than older operating systems like Windows XP Service Pack 3. Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 had the lowest infection rates in the second quarter of 2012. The infection rate for Windows XP Service Pack 3, the oldest supported operating system from Microsoft, is the highest by a significant margin.
Last year, the inaugural Security Development Conference brought together leading security professionals from a variety of industries around the world to share security development practices and how their organizations successfully adopted them. More than 300 organizations attended this conference. At the conference I had the opportunity to discuss the importance of security development practices with keynote speaker Richard A. Clarke, former Special Advisor to the President for Cyber Security. I also had the opportunity to discuss the urgency for organizations to adopt security development practices with General Michael V. Hayden, former Director, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. National Security Agency. You can read more about last year’s event in our wrap up blog post.
Registration is now open for the second annual Security Development Conference (SDC 2013) which is being held in San Francisco on May 14th and 15th. SDC 2013 will bring together some of the best and brightest information security professionals from a variety of industries. Attendees will learn about proven security development practices through interactions with peers, industry luminaries and organizations that have successfully adopted such practices. There are three tracks at SDC 2013 targeting different areas critical to the success of security development. Track sessions will cover the latest security development techniques and processes that can reduce risk and help protect organizations in this rapidly evolving technology landscape.
This year was an exciting one for online safety at Microsoft. We continued our long-standing commitment to individuals and families by offering tools and guidance they need online – everything from new products such as Windows 8 with enhanced parental controls; to our continued collaboration with groups like the Family Online Safety Institute and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). We acknowledged support of The United States’ and the European Union’s Joint Declaration to help reduce the risks and maximize the Internet’s benefits for young people. The increased focus on global online safety led to my appointment as Microsoft’s first Chief Safety Officer, a role that I will formally assume in March 2013.
So, it’s fitting that to cap 2012, we are releasing our first “Year in Online Safety” report, a 10-page paper that describes our initiatives, projects, and programs that help create safer, more trusted computing experiences. We’ve also highlighted what we think are some of the most important trends in online safety, and where they may be headed next year.
In a recent post on GigaOM, Katie Fehrenbacher summarized Microsoft’s plans for a biogas-fed data center research project in Wyoming. As I reflected on the points in Katie’s article, as well as the detailed description of the project written by Microsoft’s program manager Sean James, I began pondering the reliability-related implications of effectively reducing the reliance large-scale data centers have on the electrical grid. In view of the recent challenges many data center operators faced in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, I think research and development projects like this one are essential. From a reliability perspective, the notion of highly-localized, cost-effective, abundant and most importantly, dependable energy sources being closely coupled to energy consumers, (like data centers), and decoupled from monolithic, complex, (and arguably unreliable), systems like the grid makes a lot of sense. In addition, the economic benefits and environmental benefits are described in the referenced article, and I encourage the reader to take a look.