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I recently visited Brussels, where the European Union has its main base of operations. I had the opportunity to talk to numerous people there about the latest Microsoft Security Intelligence Report containing data and insights on the cyber-threats Microsoft has observed specifically in the EU. Microsoft publishes the Security Intelligence Report twice per year, containing data and analysis on cyber-threats we observe from more than 600 million systems worldwide and from some of the Internet’s busiest online services. The threat intelligence and technical guidance in the SIR helps inform the security efforts of businesses, organizations, and governments in many markets around the world.
The most recent volume of the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report, volume 11, includes deep dive regional threat assessments on every member state in the EU as well as many other locations. The regional assessments on EU member states provide insight into how many systems were infected with malicious software in each location, what the most prevalent malicious software threats were and the relative concentration of botnets (collections of compromised systems controlled by criminals) used to send spam in each location. We compare trends in different locations without skewing the results because of the differences in populations or computer install bases. This type of data can be useful to EU policymakers by helping to identify the specific security challenges that governments are currently facing, and whether they share common issues that might be tackled through collaboration between member states.
For example, some observations I have made studying the data on EU member states in volume 11 of the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report include:
The threat landscape appears to be much more active and hostile in some EU member states than others. This seems to present an opportunity for collaboration whereby the consistently least infected locations within the EU could share best practices, and perhaps even resources, with the more impacted member states. I have written about best practices shared by countries like Austria, Germany and Finland before. If every EU member state had malicious software infection rates as low as Finland’s, this would be a huge accomplishment in terms of cost savings and productivity gains.
Please feel free to read the key findings summary, download the full report and watch related videos at www.microsoft.com/sir.
Tim Rains Director Trustworthy Computing Communications