New tech support scam launches communication or phone call app

A new tech support scam technique streamlines the entire scam experience, leaving potential victims only one click or tap away from speaking with a scammer. We recently found a new tech support scam website that opens your default communication or phone call app, automatically prompting you to call a fake tech support scam hotline.  …


#AVGater vulnerability does not affect Windows Defender Antivirus, MSE, or SCEP

On November 10, 2017, a vulnerability called #AVGater was discovered affecting some antivirus products. The vulnerability requires a non-administrator-level account to perform a restore of a quarantined file. Windows Defender Antivirus and other Microsoft antimalware products, including System Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP) and Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), are not affected by this vulnerability. This vulnerability…


Mitigating and eliminating info-stealing Qakbot and Emotet in corporate networks

The threat to sensitive financial information is greater than ever. Data breaches, phishing attacks, and other forms of information theft are all too common in today’s threat landscape. Point-of-sale systems and ATMs have been targeted by hackers. Information-stealing trojans pose a risk to data and can lead to significant financial loss. Qakbot and Emotet are…


Stopping ransomware where it counts: Protecting your data with Controlled folder access

Windows Defender Exploit Guard is a new set of host intrusion prevention capabilities included with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. One of its features, Controlled folder access, stops ransomware in its tracks by preventing unauthorized access to your important files. Encryption should protect your data and files. Ransomware twists the power of encryption against you…


Exploit for CVE-2017-8759 detected and neutralized

The September 12, 2017 security updates from Microsoft include the patch for a previously unknown vulnerability exploited through Microsoft Word as an entry vector. Customers using Microsoft advanced threat solutions were already protected against this threat. The vulnerability, classified as CVE-2017-8759, was used in limited targeted attacks and reported to us by our partner, FireEye. Microsoft would like…


Ransomware 1H 2017 review: Global outbreaks reinforce the value of security hygiene

In the first six months of 2017, ransomware threats reached new levels of sophistication. The same period also saw the reversal of a six-month downward trend in ransomware encounters. New ransomware code was released at a higher rate with increasing complexity. Two high-profile ransomware incidents brought cybersecurity to the forefront of mainstream conversations as the…


Links in phishing-like emails lead to tech support scam

Tech support scams continue to evolve, with scammers exploring more ways to reach potential victims. Recently, we have observed spam campaigns distributing links that lead to tech support scam websites. Anti-spam filters in Microsoft Exchange Online Protection (EOP) for Office 365 and in Outlook.com blocked the said emails because they bore characteristics of phishing emails….

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Windows Defender Antivirus cloud protection service: Advanced real-time defense against never-before-seen malware

For cybercriminals, speed is the name of the game. It takes newly released malware an average of just four hours to achieve its goal—steal financial information, extort money, or cause widespread damage. In a recent report, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said that cybercriminals will use hacked or stolen information within nine minutes of posting in…

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Windows 10 platform resilience against the Petya ransomware attack

(Note: Read our latest comprehensive report on ransomware: Ransomware 1H 2017 review: Global outbreaks reinforce the value of security hygiene.)   The Petya ransomware attack on June 27, 2017 (which we analyzed in-depth in this blog) may have been perceived as an outbreak worse than last month’s WannaCrypt (also known as WannaCry) attack. After all, it…

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