Microsoft: Hackers getting faster, more targeted

Microsoft: Hackers getting faster, more targeted
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Hackers are getting faster and better at targeting their attacks, according to a threat intelligence report from Microsoft released Thursday.

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“If I could use a second word to describe how they have changed I would use ‘accelerated,’” Microsoft Chief Security Officer Tim Rains writes. “The focus and pace that some attackers have been demonstrating recently have certainly increased over time.”

But while hackers have added to their arsenal of “dirty tricks,” Rains says, they still focus on a relatively small number of ways to compromise computers — good news for organizations across the globe trying to defend themselves against a barrage of intrusions.

"We look at north of 10 million attacks on identities every day," Microsoft manager Alex Weinert told Reuters — although he noted that attacks are not always successful in infecting computers.

Pakistan, Indonesia, Algeria, Bangladesh and Nepal face the highest rates of attempted malware attacks, according to the study.

Japan, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden are hit with the fewest.

In the U.S., trojans — a kind of virus disguised as a legitimate program — are the most prevalent form of malware.

While many countries face more or less the same mix of viruses, China, with its more restrictive Internet regulations, has its own set of threats.

“As is typically the case, the threat landscape in China was dominated by malware families that are much less common worldwide,” according to the report.

About half of all attacks originate in Asia and one-fifth in Latin America, Reuters reports.

But, Rains writes, “we still see the same categories of threats and even some of the same threat families employed” compared to 10 years ago.