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Microsoft: Nigeria’s virus attacks have ‘surged sharply’

Microsoft: Nigeria’s virus attacks have ‘surged sharply’
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Microsoft Security Intelligence Report says a drastic increase in malware threats has been found in Nigeria, with a 7.9 percent increase at the end of fourth quarter of  2015.

Technology Times review of the Microsoft report reveals that malware threats in Nigeria grew  from 31.4 percent in Q3 2015 to 39.3 percent in Q4 of the same year, hence became an epidemic.

The report says the worldwide encounter rate has also grown from 17.8% in Q3 and 20.8% in Q4 2015.

Also, the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) detected and removed malware from 40.8 of every 1,000 unique computers scanned in Nigeria in Q4 2015. This scores the Computers cleaned per mille (CCM) to 40.8, compared to the Q4 2015 worldwide CCM of 16.9.

A user pictured on Facebook on his Laptop
A user pictured on Facebook on a laptop

By definition Computers cleaned per mille, or CCM, is an infection rate metric that is defined as the number of computers cleaned for every 1,000 unique computers executing the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT), which is a free tool distributed through Microsoft update services that removes more than 200 highly prevalent or serious threats from computers.

Authors of the report further reveal that worms became the most widespread malware category in Nigeria in Q4 2015, which it says was encountered by 20.4 percent of all computers, up from 15.4 percent in Q3 2015.

The report also reveals that Trojans is the second most common malware category of attacks in Nigeria in Q4 2015 with  12.1 percent of all computers there, up from 10.8 percent in Q3 2015.

While the third most common malware category in Nigeria in Q4 2015 was viruses, which was encountered by 6.7 percent of all computers there, up from 5.5 percent in Q3 2015.

Microsoft also drew attention to the fact that Browser Modifiers was the most unwanted malware in Nigeria in Q4 2015 as it was encountered by 10.8 percent of all computers in Nigeria, up from 10.2 percent in Q3 2015.

It is followed by Software Bundlers, which 4.4 percent of all computers in Nigeria encountered in the Q4 2015, up from 4.0 percent in Q3 2015. And coming third in this category was Adware, which was encountered by 1.7 percent of all computers there, up from 1.3 percent in Q3 2015.

Globally, during the second half of 2015, encounter rates for some types of threats in Russia and Brazil were nearly three times the worldwide average, according to Microsoft.

A mobile phone user seen at the 2016 Social Media Week Lagos
A mobile phone user seen at the 2016 Social Media Week Lagos

Of the ten most commonly encountered threat families in Russia in second half of 2015, five were trojans, including Win32/Peals, Win32/Skeeyah, Win32/Dynamer, and Win32/Spursint. And in Brazil, Suptab and the downloader/dropper families Win32/Sventore and Win32/Banload topped the threat list, the Microsoft SIR reveals.

On factors that cause high cyber security infection rates, Microsoft says that threat dissemination can be highly dependent on language and socioeconomic factors. In addition, distribution methods can play a considerable role.

For instance, it says attackers frequently use techniques that target people based on their native language. And for threat vectors, attackers employ online services that are local to a specific geographic region.

In some situations, attackers target vulnerabilities or operating system configurations and applications that show up disproportionately in a given location.

An Internet user seen browsing the Internet on a mobile phone
An Internet user seen browsing the Internet on a mobile phone

Microsoft says it is committed to help reduce cyber threat infection rates on a regional and global scale, and the SIR is just one aspect of its work.

“Through the regularly updated insights it allows, we aim to help inform policymakers and IT professionals about malware trends, and arm them to act accordingly,” according to the tech company.

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Donatus Anichukwueze Technology Writer at Technology Times Media e-mail: donatus.anichukwueze@technologytimes.ng

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