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Tuesday, 17 November 2009 12:42

Australian malware infection rates drop

Australia’s malware infection rate is significantly lower than the worldwide average, with estimates by Microsoft that 3.9 systems in Australia are infected for every one thousand systems on which the company’s malicious software removal tool is executed, compared to the worldwide average of 8.7 systems per one thousand executed, or more than double Australia’s infection rate. 

Microsoft today released the findings of its global security intelligence report, culled from data derived from hundreds of millions of computers around the world, and revealed that out of the top security threats in Australia, 70 per cent were malware and 30 per cent consisted of potentially unwanted software, with 19 of the top 25 threats consisting of malware.

According to Microsoft Australia’s chief security advisor, Stuart Strathdee, while malware continues to outpace other security threats, Australia’s overall malware infection rate reduced by six per cent during the first half of 2009, compared with the preceding six months. Strathdee said the survey also revealed that the most prevalent threat in Australia in terms of the number of computers infected, and the third most common threat worldwide, is “Renos,” a Trojan downloader.

Strathdee says that Renos automatically downloads potentially unwanted software onto computers and typically presents “erroneous warnings claiming the system is infected with spyware,”  and that the Trojan then offers to remove the alleged spyware for a fee, and in some cases, causes system instability.

The second most prevalent threat in Australia discovered by Microsoft - and the fourth most common threat worldwide - is “Zango Search Assistant,” a form of adware which monitors Web browsing activity and displays pop-up advertisements related to the Internet sites being viewed.

“It’s been said that knowledge is power — and the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report allows us to provide our extensive analysis of the Australian and global threat landscape with our customers, partners and the broader industry, along with guidance to ensure people are better protected,” Strathdee said, adding that “Microsoft is committed to providing not only security intelligence for our customers and the community, but also an accurate and comprehensive view of the realities of the threat landscape.”

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