Continued sophistication of cyber crime: Microsoft

Latest Security Intelligence Report shows some positive progress.

Cyber crime is continuing to mature into a sophisticated industry, according to the latest Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIRv8).

"The study confirms that criminals continue to enhance their capability to execute attacks, including 'productising' and adding features to malware in order to target specific audiences," said Microsoft Asia Pacific regional security and privacy lead, Jacqueline Peterson-Jarvis, speaking in Kuala Lumpur.

"SIRv8 provides compelling evidence that cyber criminals are becoming more sophisticated and are packaging online threats to create, update and maintain exploits kits that are sold on to others to deploy," said Peterson-Jarvis.

"Malware creators are continually improving their 'products' by replacing poorly performing exploits with new ones," she said.

SIRv8 ( uses data collected from about 500 million computers worldwide to provide intelligence on global online threats experienced during the second half of 2009. The security intelligence is collected through the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT), Forefront Online Protection for Exchange and Forefront Client Security, Microsoft's newest security offering called Microsoft Security Essentials, Windows Live Hotmail and Bing.

Enterprise worms

Peterson-Jarvis said enterprise networks continue to be susceptible to worms while home users are more exposed to malware and socially engineered threats. "For example, so-called '419' scams increased in e-mail significantly and rogue security software, which poses as a legitimate security application to deceive users, continues to be an issue for consumers.

"In addition, criminals continue to package online threats into 'kits' to maximise potential impact," she said. "The Eleonore browser exploit kit, for example, employs different exploits for browsers from several different vendors as well as popular application software frequently found on systems. Maintained and upgraded like traditional products, each version of the kit is developed to offer optimal levels of applicability, stealth, reliability, and detection evasion."

She added that SIRv8 further confirmed that attackers are now largely motivated by financial gain and act in teams. "For example, malware creators seldom conduct attacks themselves but instead work with other criminals in online black markets to buy and sell malware kits and botnet access."

Some positive progress

"Despite the steady presence of online threats, SIRv8 found results that demonstrate industry progress in defending against the threat of malware. The telemetry data in SIR has shown consistently that the lowest infection rates are seen on computers running Windows Vista SP2 and Windows 7," said Peterson-Jarvis.

"Infection rates for both operating systems are less than half the infection rate for computers running Windows XP," she said.

Malaysia malware

"In Malaysia, we have seen that the threats that were disinfected were mostly malware," said Peterson-Jarvis. "In the second half of 2009, although the malware infection rate is significantly lower than the worldwide average, there was an increase in infections compared to the first half of 2009."

"To protect your environment, we would recommend taking several actions, including keeping all software in your system updated; running anti-virus software from a trusted vendor and keeping it updated; using a secure browser; and downloading the Microsoft Security Update Guide," she said.

Government agency CyberSecurity Malaysia chief executive officer, Lt. Col. (Rtd) Husin Jazri said Internet users remain open to cyber crime and other online threats, and this was due to the low awareness surrounding the issue.

"The level of awareness among Malaysian Internet users on safety issues in cyberspace needs to be intensified, and this move is necessary, now more than ever, to keep up with the rapidly growing number of citizens," said Husin. "Internet users also include children and parents need to play a more active role to ensure their children's safe and secure online experience."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags securityMicrosoft

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.


Unknown Publication
Show Comments



Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >

Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?