Microsoft Unveils Security Intelligence Report

Microsoft recently unveiled the Malaysia findings from the 24th edition of its Security Intelligence Report (SIR), an annual study aimed to improve cyber resilience in the region.

Between January to December 2018, the cryptocurrency mining malware encounter rate in Malaysia was nearly 33 percent higher than the global average. The report also found that the encounter rate increased or decreased with the rise or fall in the value of cryptocurrency.

According to the SIR v24, ransomware encounters have decreased by 73 percent worldwide. However, despite the decline, ransomware is still a viable threat in Malaysia as the encounter rate was 100 percent more than the global average. One of the reasons contributing to the fall of ransomware attacks is the organizations and individuals becoming more aware of and dealing more intelligently with ransomware threats, including exerting greater caution and backing up important files so they can be restored if encrypted by ransomware.

A drive-by download is an unintentional download of malicious code to an unsuspecting user’s computer when they visit a web site. The malicious code could be used to exploit vulnerabilities in web browsers, browser add-ons, applications, and the operating system and Malaysia experienced approximately 544 percent more drive-by download attacks than the rest of the world. Users can be infected with malware simply by visiting a website, even without attempting to download anything. More advanced drive-by download campaigns can also install ransomware or even cryptocurrency mining software on a victim machine.

Poor cybersecurity hygiene and low user security awareness can lead to risky IT behaviors, including using unpatched software and visiting potentially dangerous websites such as file-sharing sites, which expose devices to malware. Using pirated software can also be a source of infection.