#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…


Detecting reflective DLL loading with Windows Defender ATP

Today’s attacks put emphasis on leaving little, if any, forensic evidence to maintain stealth and achieve persistence. Attackers use methods that allow exploits to stay resident within an exploited process or migrate to a long-lived process without ever creating or relying on a file on disk. In recent blogs we described how attackers use basic…


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…


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

(Note: Our Tech support scams FAQ page has the latest info on this type of threat, including scammer tactics, fake error messages, and the latest scammer hotlines. You can also read our latest blog, New tech support scam launches communication or phone call app.)   Tech support scams continue to evolve, with scammers exploring more…

7

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…

19

Detecting stealthier cross-process injection techniques with Windows Defender ATP: Process hollowing and atom bombing

Advanced cyberattacks emphasize stealth and persistence: the longer they stay under the radar, the more they can move laterally, exfiltrate data, and cause damage. To avoid detection, attackers are increasingly turning to cross-process injection. Cross-process injection gives attackers the ability to run malicious code that masquerades as legitimate programs. With code injection, attackers don’t have…


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…

3

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…

0

MSRT June 2017: Removing sneaky Xiazai

In the June release of the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT), we’re adding Xiazai, a widespread family of browser modifiers that we have blocked and removed from millions of computers since 2015. Xiazai is a software bundler that can sneak in additional changes. Xiazai does not install itself or make autostart registry entries, but…

1