According to a report by Microsoft Corp., Pakistan, Indonesia, Algeria, lead the group in the number of malware infections worldwide. Data released by Microsoft Security Intelligence Report volume 16 this month mentions the above countries as the leading locations with highest number of malware encounter rates in the second half of year 2013. Please note that “Malware encounter rate” is not the actual infection rate but the percentage of computers running Microsoft real-time security software that report detecting malware, or report detecting a specific threat or family of unknown application.
Malware Encounter Rate
Most of these encounters are from systems running Microsoft Security Essentials or Windows Defender (on Windows 8). Both are free antivirus program that provides spyware, malicious software, and virus protection. Of the two malware protection systems, Windows Defender acts your first line of defense against spyware and other unwanted software.
The chart from the report gives a breakdown of the top 10 locations with the highest malware encounter rates and helps users visualize how these countries/regions compare to the worldwide average.
One would readily assume, since the countries have the highest malware encounter rates in the world, they must carry with them corresponding infections.
This is not true as not every encounter results in an infection. Attempts by malware to infect a machine can be blocked by any number of security protection layers. For example:
- Antimalware: Getting real-time security software installed in the first place can avert compromising of the system by malware infection or get it blocked before it could even infect.
- Security Updates: When you have all the latest security updates installed for the application, browser or the operating system, it can help prevent the vulnerability from being exploited.
- Security Mitigations: Security mitigations such as DEP and ASLR may also be turned on which may pose problems in exploiting vulnerabilities even when no security update exists.
Interestingly, the report states that only two of the countries/regions from the top ten encounter list above were listed in the top ten list of countries/regions with the highest malware infection rates in the last quarter of 2013: Algeria and Tunisia.