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

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 uses the same SMB exploit used by WannaCrypt and adds a second exploit and other lateral movement methods. However, our…

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Understanding the true size of "Fireball"

Keeping tabs on the movement of cybersecurity threats, understanding the size and scope of attacks, and disrupting cybercriminal campaigns through next-gen technologies are fundamental parts of our day-to-day work at Microsoft Windows Defender Research. So when recent reports of the “Fireball” cybersecurity threat operation were presented as a new discovery, our teams knew differently because…

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Partnering with the AV ecosystem to protect our Windows 10 customers

On Friday May 12th, and for several days afterwards, more than a quarter-million computers around the world fell victim to the ransomware known as WannaCrypt or WannaCry. As that recent event has shown, malicious actors bring nearly boundless time and skill to commit cybercrime that can cause harm to millions of people. That is why…

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Analysis of the Shadow Brokers release and mitigation with Windows 10 virtualization-based security

On April 14, a group calling themselves the Shadow Brokers caught the attention of the security community by releasing a set of weaponized exploits. Shortly thereafter, one of these exploits was used to create wormable malware that we now know as WannaCrypt, which targeted a large number of out-of-date systems and held encrypted files for…

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Windows 10 Creators Update provides next-gen ransomware protection

Multiple high-profile incidents have demonstrated that ransomware can have catastrophic effects on all of us. From personally losing access to your own digital property, to being impacted because critical infrastructure or health care services are unexpectedly unavailable for extended periods of time, destructive attacks have grown in severity and scale on all platforms – including…


WannaCrypt ransomware worm targets out-of-date systems

On May 12, 2017 we detected a new ransomware that spreads like a worm by leveraging vulnerabilities that have been previously fixed. While security updates are automatically applied in most computers, some users and enterprises may delay deployment of patches. Unfortunately, the ransomware, known as WannaCrypt, appears to have affected computers that have not applied…

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Antivirus evolved

Some say antivirus is an outdated technology. What does “antivirus” even mean? For us, antivirus is the most commonly recognized term that means for customers “a product that stops bad programs from infecting my device.” Saying “antivirus” is similar to when you hear a Southerner (like myself) say “Coke” when referring to a carbonated beverage….

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Tech support scams persist with increasingly crafty techniques

Millions of users continue to encounter technical support scams. Data from Windows Defender SmartScreen (which is used by both Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer to block malicious sites) and Windows Defender Antivirus show that some three million users are subjected to these threats every month. In addition to being rampant, technical support scams continue to…

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