Microsoft Morbid about Multiplying Malware

Dennis Faas's picture

Just last week, I happily reported that a University of California researcher had provided firm evidence that the dreaded Storm Worm virus was drying up under the heat of security companies and new, protective programs.

Unfortunately, it appears to be a rare case. Other research suggests malicious code is instead on the rise, increasing five-fold throughout the first half of 2007. (Source:

According to research conducted and released by Microsoft, the maliciousness associated with Trojans, phishing schemes, keyboard logging, and other nasty habits made an impressive jump during the first six months of the year. In total, it means some 31.6 million phishing scams were detected.

Microsoft presented its findings at a recent security conference in London, England. It had conducted its research through the Ponemon Institute, which interviewed more than 3,500 security and privacy gurus hailing from a host of different companies and even industries. Those surveyed constituted an astoundingly diversified background, coming from the medical profession, government, and finance. Three countries were involved, including the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany.

Despite good news on the Storm Worm, this most recent investigation found that phishing scams have been invigorated over the last year by increased opportunities to lift the personal information of average web users. It's merely a side effect of the West's modern, capitalist environment, and there's no indication we can really do anything about it.

According to one chief security security advisor at Microsoft, "As the security of the operating system improves, we are seeing cybercriminals becoming more sophisticated, diverse and targeted in their methods of stealing personal information." (Source:

So, is there anything we can do?

The study did have a few, broad suggestions that every company should consider. At the top of the list was better collaboration between marketing and security. Companies who had admitted their communication between these two department was weak were twice as likely to become victims of malicious activity.

Thus, it seems the key to keeping web enemies out of the loop is keeping your security friends in.

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