MS Report: Worms Outpace Rogue Software Infections

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A recently released security report from Microsoft warns that cyber crooks are digging deeper into computers in order to steal and control data. The Security Intelligence Report reveals that rogue security software ("scareware") was the biggest threat during the first half of this year.

Worm Activity on the Rise

In a recent report, Jeff Williams, Microsoft's Malware Protection Center principal architect noted that rogue security software is no longer the primary tool for hackers and that worm activity, particularly the Conficker and Taterf worm, are on the rise.

Scareware usually spreads by tricking people with pop-up messages that warns of bogus alerts about their machines being infected. Users that fall victim to scareware are coerced into providing hackers with credit card information and installing a bogus application that "fixes" a computer problem that never existed.

Worms, on the other hand, are designed to replicate themselves and target machines by hiding in legitimate applications or by piggy-backing on portable data storage devices such as USB drives. (Source:

Worms Infect Millions of Computers Worldwide

Earlier this year the Conficker worm plagued the Internet. It was so pernicious that computer software and security firms, including Microsoft, formed a task force to combat it. Since then, the Conficker and Taterf worms have wiggled their way onto millions of computers all over the world.

USB and other media drives have become increasingly popular for people to move music, video, games, files and other data between computers. Those types of media tend to bypass computer security systems designed to guard against hackers breaking into a computer from the outside. Users should scan removable media drives such as USB drives for malware before using them on multiple computers.

Important to Keep Your Computer Updated

Cyber crooks are becoming increasingly adept at reverse engineering security patches released by Microsoft intended to fix vulnerabilities in their software programs and operating systems. The patches are dissected by hackers to identify weaknesses and to create malicious code that takes advantage of flaws in the software, so it's imperative that users keep their software updated.

Data from Microsoft's security report was based on billions of scans per day in more than 200 global regions. (Source:

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