Increase In Computer Virus Activity Detected By Microsoft

The team over at the Microsoft’s Security Intelligence Report noticed an increase in the number of detected computer viruses in the end of 2012.  Computer viruses comprised less than 5% of malware for most of 2012 but rose to almost 8 % by the end of 2012.

The increase was more pronounced in areas of the world with low broadband penetration.  The infection rates were  about 40% in Pakistan, Indonesia, Ethiopia, and Bangladesh and 35% of systems in Afghanistan.  Malware trojans and worms that are popular in the rest of the connected world has problems spreading in low connectivity areas.

According to Microsoft, virus public enemy #1 is the Win32/Sality infecting Windows XP systems.  Win32/Sality belongs to a family of computer viruses that are capable of defeating antivirus by making small changes to it’s code.  This trait is called being polymorphic and is not as successful on newer operating systems/anti-virus.

Although this trend appears geographically isolated it is interesting for two reasons: 1) this is yet another reason you should upgrade from XP and 2) apparently hostile actors are either: 2a) lost or 2b) building skills on the backs of computer users that are probably not going to complain and have the FBI/FSB/PLA/etc break down the door to your mom’s basement.

The usual rules apply to defend against this increase: install/keep to date your favorite anti-virus program and have it run at least every other day, apply system patches, and scan USB or other media before using it.

 

More info:

http://blogs.technet.com/b/security/archive/2013/05/16/are-viruses-making-a-comeback.aspx

http://www.microsoft.com/security/sir/default.aspx

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Post by Protocol 46