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Malware Contaminations on Windows Computers Related to Un-Patched Applications, States CSIS

According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) a Danish security company that lately published a study, 3rd-party software that are left un-patched is the chief cause of malware infections for Windows computers. Theregister.co.uk published this on September 28, 2011.

Reportedly, some 3-5 years back, the chief technique of spreading malware was via replacing malware laced file attachments within e-mails with drive-by download assaults that hackers launched from exploit-loaded websites under their control. During that time browser exploits constituted VXers' key stock-in-trade, however, a change has taken place since then, CSIS outlines.

The drive-by download assaults are responsible for a maximum of 85% of the total malware contaminations, with commercial exploit toolkits creating the assaults, states CSIS. The company, a specialist in electronic crime research, tracked 50 individual exploit toolkits, recorded their activities during a 3-month time-span, and examined the reasons that were behind both consumer and business computers' infections.

Accordingly, CSIS found that out of 500,000 end-users who came in contact with exploit kits, 31.3% became infected with malware because they had security updates missing on their systems.

Meanwhile, the CSIS study further underscores that Web-surfers without updated software of Adobe, Quicktime or Java comprise the majority who're susceptible to drive-by download assaults.

Also according to the study, users of IE apparently form the major proportion of people who become victims of the assaults, with 66% of the contaminations happening on systems running the Microsoft Web-browser. Coming second, however, is Mozilla's Firefox followed with Opera. The above ranking appears somewhat sensible since users of Safari or Opera are not as many in number as that of those who're targeted in this group.

Subsequently, with respect to operating software, Windows XP is the most targeted with malware, while Windows Vista is 2nd in rank with a slight difference and at 38%. Moreover, Windows 7, which's better secured, comes 3rd; whilst the ancient Windows 98 is ideally secured with nil infection.

Eventually, the study concludes that a huge 99.8% of the total virus alternatively other malware contaminations on computers have a direct bearing with software packages that aren't updated.

Related article: Malware Authors Turn More Insidious

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