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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Breaking down a notably sophisticated tech support scam M.O.

The cornerstone of tech support scams is the deception that there is something wrong with your PC.  To advance this sham, tech support scams have long abused browsers’ full screen function. Coupled with dialogue loops, the pop-up messages that just won’t go away, and the spoofing of brands like Microsoft, tech support scam websites can…

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Ransomware: A declining nuisance or an evolving menace?

The volume of ransomware encounters is on a downward trend. Are we seeing the beginning of the end of this vicious threat? Unfortunately, a look at the attack vectors, the number of unique families released into the wild, and the improvements in malware code reveals otherwise. Ransomware was arguably the biggest security story of 2016….

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Exploit kits remain a cybercrime staple against outdated software – 2016 threat landscape review series

Despite the disruption of Axpergle (Angler), which dominated the landscape in early 2016, exploit kits as a whole continued to be a threat to PCs running unpatched software. Some of the most prominent threats, from malvertising to ransomware, used exploit kits to infect millions of computers worldwide in 2016. The prevalence of exploit kits as an…

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Hardening Windows 10 with zero-day exploit mitigations

Cyberattacks involving zero-day exploits happen from time to time, affecting different platforms and applications. Over the years, Microsoft security teams have been working extremely hard to address these attacks. While delivering innovative solutions like Windows Defender Application Guard, which provides a safe virtualized layer for the Microsoft Edge browser, and Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection,…

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Fake fax ushers in revival of a ransomware family

“Criminal case against you” is a message that may understandably cause panic. That’s what a recent spam campaign hopes happens, increasing the likelihood of recipients opening the malicious attachment. We recently discovered a new threat that uses email messages pretending to be fax messages, but in truth deliver a ransomware downloader. The attachment used in this…

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No payment necessary: Fighting back against ransomware

Any IT professional who’s ever had an experience with malware knows how fast an intrusive attack can happen, and how difficult it can be to educate employees to be vigilant against such threats. And with ransomware attacks only growing, having information, tools and technologies to help protect your network can mean the difference between serious…

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MSRT November 2016: Unwanted software has nowhere to hide in this month’s release

We came across a browser modifier that sports rootkit capabilities. Not only does the threat, detected as BrowserModifier:Win32/Soctuseer, cross the line that separates legitimate software from unwanted, it also takes staying under the radar to the next level. Rootkit capabilities, which make it difficult to detect and remove applications, are usually associated with malware. Yet…

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Our commitment to our customers' security

This guest blog post is by Terry Myerson / Executive Vice President, Windows and Devices Group Windows is the only platform with a customer commitment to investigate reported security issues and proactively update impacted devices as soon as possible. And we take this responsibility very seriously. Recently, the activity group that Microsoft Threat Intelligence calls STRONTIUM…

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MSRT October 2016 release: Adding more unwanted software detections

Unwanted software often piggy-backs on program downloads, delivered by software bundlers. These bundles, which you might have downloaded, can include software that you do not want, and some that are harmful. The bundled or “extra” software can perform actions on your device that run the gambit from unwanted to annoying to malicious. The threat that…

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