Asia-Pacific countries most vulnerable to Malware
A study by Microsoft discovered that 4 out of every 10 computers in Asia-Pacific countries are presumably infected with malware. Four out of the top five nations globally at risk of infection belong to the Asia-Pacific region. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nepal stand first, second, fourth and fifth respectively. Developing countries are more prone to malware as their computers sometimes operate on deceiving software.
On 7th June, 2016 in Singapore, Microsoft Asia announced the launch of its Malware Infection Index 2016. MII 2016 identifies the crucial malware threats in the region and ranks markets in Asia Pacific according to how much it affects their computer systems.
How did they do it?
Microsoft first took control of malware-spreading botnets located in Europe, after which it was able to monitor all devices the botnet spread to around the world Having that information in hand helped them record 1.4 billiion real-time pings per week from infected computers. Findings of the index were backed by data from the Microsoft Malware Protection Centre and the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report.
What is Malware?
Malware, short for malicious software, is any software used to disturb computer operations by gathering sensitive information, gaining access to private computer systems, or displaying unwanted advertising.
Most frequently encountered Malware
As per the security report released by Microsoft, the Gamarue computer worm, and trojans Skeeyah and Peals are the top three most-encountered malware. Gamarue is a worm which empowers viscious hackers to take control of somebody's PC. Skeeyah and Peals, trojans that look innocent and deceive users into installing them can steal personal information. Gamarue was also the third most-encountered malware worldwide in 2015.
Upward graph of malware threats
In the Asia-Pacific region, each country had an average of close to 40% or more computers encountering malware, compared to the global average of only 20.8% in the last quarter of 2015, which also increased from 17.6% in the first quarter of 2015.
Issues leading to malware infection
Keshav Dhakad, Regional Director, IP & Digital Crimes Unit, Microsoft Asia summarised common IT environment issues responsible for cyber-crime risks. According to him, usage, procurement, and maintenance of old, unprotected and non-genuine assets cause hindrances. Poor cyber hygiene of users and negligent employee behaviour inside companies is also a reason for malware infections. Another reason is the untimely detection and removal of cyber threats
Preventing the bugs
Dhakad advised enterprises to opt for genuine, current and updated software and have a strong cyber defence system. "Everything requires different levels of protection - know what data is important, who is accessing the data. Encryption and multifactor authentication are a must", he said.