Pakistan top target of malware attacks worldwide, says Microsoft report
SAN FRANCISCO: Pakistan, Indonesia, the Palestinian territories, Bangladesh, and Nepal attract the highest rates of attempted malware attacks, according to Microsoft Corp.
Countries that attracted the fewest include Japan, Finland, Norway and Sweden, reveals the Microsoft Security Intelligence (MSI) report Volume 20 for the second half of 2015.
The report assesses software vulnerabilities and exploits, malware and unwanted software with the help of sensors in systems running Microsoft anti-malware software.
Highest threat encounter rate
Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Nepal were also among locations with the highest threat encounter rates in the first half of 2015.
Although there appeared to be a worldwide dip in threat encounter rates, they rose again after 2015 Q2. By the end of the year, an encounter rate of over 60 per cent was reported for Pakistan ─ the highest in the world ─ as compared to the worldwide average of just over 20pc.
Threat families found to be unusually common in Pakistan included the worm families Win32/Ippedo, which was ranked third in Pakistan but 28th worldwide, and Win32/Nuqel, which was ninth in Pakistan but 71st wordlwide.
Fifth highest infection rate
Pakistan had the fifth highest infection rate in the second half of 2015 after Mongolia, Libya, the Palestinian territories and Iraq at 71.3 Computers Cleaned per Mille (CCM). The worldwide average during this time period was 16.9 CCM.
Microsoft’s infection rate metric, CCM, is defined as the number of computers cleaned per 1,000 unique computers by the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool ─ a free tool distributed by the company’s update services, which removes over 200 “highly prevalent or serious threats from computers”, according to the report.
Infecting families unusually prevalent in Pakistan include the worm family Win32/Tupym ─ 13th in Pakistan, 110th worldwide ─ and the backdoor family Win32/Bifrose, which is 15th in Pakistan and 115th worldwide.
‘More than 10 million attacks on identities daily’
“We look at north of 10 million attacks on identities every day,” said Microsoft manager Alex Weinert, although attacks do not always succeed.
About half of all attacks originate in Asia and one-fifth in Latin America. Millions occur each year when the attacker has valid credentials, Microsoft said, meaning the attacker knows a user’s login and password.
A technology known as machine learning can often detect those attacks by looking for data points such as whether the location of the user is familiar.
On average, 240 days elapse between a security breach in a computer system and detection of that breach, said Tim Rains, director of security at Microsoft.