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Posted by: Tim Rains, Director, Trustworthy Computing Communications
I recently visited Brussels, where the European Union has its main base of operations. I visit customers and partners regularly as I get out and about discussing Security Intelligence Report findings.
The most recent volume of the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report, volume 11, which covers the first half of 2011, 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 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.
In my opinion, if every EU member state had malicious software infection rates as low as Finland’s or Austria’s it would be a huge accomplishment in terms of cost savings and productivity gains. I provide a detailed analysis of the threat landscape in these countries, along with several others that have consistently low malware infection rates, in a six part blog series I wrote recently. In the last part of the series I share the best practices that these regions use to manage consistently low malware infection rates – these are worth a look and can help locations with higher infection rates.