Microsoft recently released its January-to-June 2013 Security Intelligence Report (SIR). The timing of the report seem a bit awkward though, as we’re already two-thirds of the way through the next reporting period. The report also contains infection rates and threat trends in 106 locations worldwide including Nigeria.
In a recent blog postings about the report, Microsoft compared the infection and encounter rates across the four flavours of client-side Windows OSs – XP, Vista, 7 and 8 (see graph image above). After analyzing security threats to more than 1 billion systems for six months, the report offers insights that highlight the dangers of still running Windows XP. Although most computers in Nigeria run on Windows 7, however, Windows XP is currently the second most popular OS in Nigeria according StatCounter. This puts lots of users in Nigeria at risk even as XP inches toward end of support on April 8, 2014.
The report presented statistics generated by Microsoft security programs and services running on computers in Nigeria in Q2 of 2013 and previous quarters and listed Worms and Trojans as the most common threat category in Nigeria (see graph below).
Five (5) of the top ten (10) malware threat in Nigeria in Q2 2013 are summarized as follows (see table below for details):
- The first of these threats is INF/Autorun, which is described by the company as a family of worms that spreads by copying itself to the mapped drives (network or removable drives) of an infected computer.
- The second is Pintu, which is a multi-component family that includes a worm component that spreads via removable drive and a virus component that renames executables.
- The third is CplLnk, which is a generic detection for specially crafted malicious shortcut files that attempt to exploit the vulnerability addressed by Microsoft Security Bulletin MS10-046.
- The fourth is Ramnit, which infects executable files, Microsoft Office files, and HTML files and spreads to removable drives to steals sensitive information such as saved FTP credentials and browser cookies. It may also open a backdoor to await instructions from a remote attacker.
- The fifth is Vobfus, which is a family of worms that are capable of downloading other malware on to a PC and can be spread via removable devices.
According Tim rains of Microsoft, modern operating systems such as Windows 8 include advanced security technologies that are specifically designed to make it harder, more complex, more expensive and, therefore, less appealing for cyber criminals to exploit vulnerabilities.