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Rogue security software a top threat to Internet users: Microsoft Report

09 April 2009

A new report has been released that identifies a significant increase in rogue security software and evidence that threats are predominantly targeting common third-party desktop applications.

The findings are published in the sixth volume of Microsoft's Security Intelligence Report.

Released twice a year, the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report uses data gathered from hundreds of millions of computers worldwide to provide an in-depth snapshot of the threat landscape.

Rogue security software, also known as "scareware," takes advantage of users' desire to keep their computers protected. The rogue software lures them into paying for protection that, unknown to them, is actually malware offering little or no real protection, and is often designed to steal personal information.

The Microsoft Security Intelligence Report shows that such programs are now among the top threats around the world.

For example, two rogue families, Win32/FakeXPA and Win32/FakeSecSen, were detected on more than 1.5 million computers by Microsoft software, catapulting them into the top 10 threats in the second half of the year.

In addition, Win32/Renos, a threat that is used to deliver rogue security software, was detected on 4.4 million unique computers, an increase of 66.6 percent over the first half of 2008.

Rogue security software and other social engineering attacks such as these compromise people's privacy and are costly; some take personal information and drain bank accounts, while others infect computers and rob businesses of productivity.

The report also showed that the number one reason for data breaches remains lost and stolen computer equipment.

A downloadable version of the Security Intelligence Report, volume 6, and other related information is available at http://www.microsoft.com/sir.

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