Microsoft meticulously plans its approach before identifying any new malware threats. It believes understanding of the malware landscape is of prime important to consider infection attempts. Computers running real-time security software blocked malware even before they could succeed in infecting a computer. However, it is essential to measure their prevalence in the first place.
Microsoft says, it used two different metrics to measure malware prevalence:
- Encounter rate – Percentage of computers running Microsoft real-time security products that report a malware encounter, whether or not the infection attempt succeeds.
- Computers Cleaned Per Mile (CCM) – Computers cleaned for every 1,000 unique computers executing the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT). The freely-distributed virus removal tool developed by Microsoft for the Microsoft Windows Operating System removes highly prevalent or serious threats from computers.
Microsoft Security Intelligence Report
The Microsoft Security Intelligence Report Volume 16 Regional Threat Assessment covers Malware instances that are blocked before they could infect systems as well as removed following Anti-virus program action after infection under following categories – ‘Encounter’ and ‘infection rate trends’. The report are offered country-wise as well as worldwide during Q4 2013 only.
Encounter and infection rate trends in USA
The report suggests 12.0% percent of computers in the United States encountered malware, compared to the 4Q13 worldwide encounter rate of 21.6% percent. Graphical representation of the statement is given below.
Malware encountered in the United States in 4Q13, by threat category
The most common category in the United States in 4Q13 was Miscellaneous Trojans. Placed on the second spot is Trojan Downloaders and Droppers that was encountered by 5.1 percent of all computers, up from 4.0 percent in 3Q13. The third most common category in the United States in 4Q13 was Exploits.
Top threat families by encounter rate.
The commonest of all of threat family encountered in the United States in 4Q13 was Win32/Rotbrow, harming total of 2.6 percent of reporting computers in the United States. In the second place was Win32/Brantall, which was found to have affected 1.7 percent of reporting computers with detections in the United States. The third most common threat family encountered in the United States in 4Q13 was JS/Urntone, which affecting 0.8 percent of reporting computers with detections in the United States.
The report also discussed the method attackers offensively use to victimize computer users – websites for conducting phishing attacks or distributing malware. It mentions steps taken by Microsoft and other browser vendors in this direction. For instance, there are Filters for tracking sites hosting malware and phishing attacks and that display prominent warnings when users try to navigate to them.
Complete statistics presented in the report are generated by Microsoft security programs and services running on computers in the United States in 4Q13. You can download the reports for your country here.