Cybercriminals Are Increasingly Relying on Deceptive Tactics, Microsoft Warns

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The latest products released by Microsoft are more secure. The latest security mechanisms integrated by the Redmond company in its products are efficient. This is demonstrated by the fact that the number of critical vulnerabilities exploited between 2010 and 2013 decreased by 70%.

However, cybercriminals are not giving up. Experts highlight the fact that they’re increasingly relying on deceptive tactics to achieve their goals. The figures from the latest SIR reveal that the number of computers infected as a result of the use of deceptive tactics more than tripled in the last quarter of 2013.

“Cybercriminals are secretly bundling malicious items with legitimate content such as software, games or music. Taking advantage of people’s desire to get a good deal, cybercriminals are bundling malware with free programs and free software packages that can be downloaded online,” Tim Rains, director of Trustworthy Computing at Microsoft, notes in a blog post.

The company studied trends in 110 countries and regions, and in over 95% of them deceptive downloads were a major threat.

Deceptive downloads are not the only concern. Cybercriminals have also increasingly started relying on ransomware. This is a deceptive tactic that can be highly profitable. Malicious actors are aware of it, a fact which is proven by the 45% increase in the use of Reveton, one of the most popular pieces of ransomware, between the first and second halves of last year.

According to the report, the highest ransomware encounter rate in the fourth quarter of 2013 was recorded in Russia (1.62%). In this period, Kazakhstan accounted for 0.73% of infections and Greece for 0.63%.

While, globally, Reveton was the most commonly encountered ransomware family in the second half of 2013, there were other families that stood out. On a global scale, the Urausy family took the second position, but the threat was the most prevalent in Europe.

“The data suggests that ransomware threats are typically geographically concentrated for periods of time. For cybercriminals looking to make a quick buck, this is an increasingly alluring tactic,” Rains explains.

Microsoft’s latest SIR report covers a wide range of threats, including vulnerabilities, exploits and malware. The complete SIR Volume 16 is available for download on Microsoft’s website.

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