Microsoft released the fourth volume of its Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIR). The report focuses on the second half of 2007 and uses data derived from a range of tools running on approximately 450 million computers worldwide to provide an in-depth, global view of software vulnerabilities, software exploits, malicious software and potentially unwanted software.
The latest SIR shows the fewest number of security vulnerability disclosures across the software industry since the second half of 2005, along with a rise in malicious and potentially unwanted software, which demonstrates a continued use of malware as a tool for targeting computer users for profit.
More specifically, the second half of 2007 showed a decline in new security vulnerability disclosures by 15 percent and a decrease in total vulnerability disclosures by 5 percent for all of 2007. Vulnerabilities are weaknesses in software that allow an attacker to compromise the integrity, availability or confidentiality of that software. The data also reveals a 300 percent increase in the number of trojan downloaders and droppers — malicious code used to install files on users’ systems — illustrating that the malware category continues to grow in popularity among attackers.
The report also shows a 66.7 percent increase in the number of potentially unwanted software detections — programs that may impact user privacy or security by performing actions the person may not want — between July 1 and Dec. 31, with a total of 129.5 million pieces of potentially unwanted software found on users’ systems.
The purpose of the SIR is to keep customers informed of the major trends in the threat landscape and provide valuable insights and security guidance designed to help customers make better, more informed decisions with regard to products, technologies and resources. The latest report builds on previously gathered data, but also includes new sections focused on issues of security breach notifications, spam and phishing, Internet safety enforcement, and the storm worm — a highly visible, continually updating and adapting trojan dropper.
A copy of Microsoft’s newest Security Intelligence Report and other related information can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/sir