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Windows 8 Satisfies The Need For Speed

imageI’m a speed sensitive kind of guy – when it comes to computing, that is. Late last year, to satisfy my need for speed, I installed a Solid State Drive – running Windows 7 Enterprise – in place of a Western Digital HDD, as a boot drive.

The benefits of running with an SSD were immediately noticeable – faster boot times, faster system shutdown, faster application load times (including games), along with faster sleep and hibernation modes.

In the meantime, Windows 8 Consumer Preview was dropped on my doorstep – and, since there is some degree of SSD optimization built into Windows 8, taking the opportunity to race with this new engine was a natural fit.

It’s been quite a race – Windows 8 is perceptibly faster on my hardware than on the same configuration running Windows 7. Not milliseconds faster – but, measurable faster. Still, there’s little real value in a single user’s Windows 8 running experience. Hardware is a variable – system configurations are variable – usage factors need to be considered, and so on.

So, rather than write a full report on my personal experience running Windows 8, I gave Sandro Villinger from TuneUp Software (the developers of TuneUp Utilities 2012) a buzz to get his take on Windows 8.

Thank goodness for Skype – a planned 15 minute call to Germany turned into a 2 hour conversation – much of it focused on the state of Internet journalism. A conversation so satisfying, that it led me to craft an article on a number of issues raised in conversation, which I’ll post in the next few days.

But, I digress.

As it turns out, Sandro and his team had tested Windows 8 extensively – not just on a single system – but, on a mix of hardware which included Desktops, Laptop/Tablets, and a low powered Intel Atom Netbook.

Sandro has generously shared his extremely comprehensive report with me – which I’ve posted below. If you’ve had any questions regarding Windows 8 performance capabilities, then Sandro’s report is just what you’ve been waiting for.

Enjoy the read.   Smile

A Close Look at Windows 8 Performance: Winners and Losers

Don’t let the shiny new Metro interface of Windows 8 fool you—the new operating system (OS) has been improved not just with a spanking new outfit but also in the performance department. For instance, Microsoft’s future OS needs to work with both high-end PCs as well as small-factor devices like ARM and low-powered Intel tablets, which is why its overall footprint needed to be reduced drastically.

As VentureBeat noted, “Windows 8’s secret feature [is] resurrecting old PCs.” Microsoft promised that Windows 8 would run equally well or better on low-powered machines than Windows 7. This is a bold statement, but the real question is, did the company deliver? In this blog post, we’ll explore that with early benchmarks, showing if and how much Windows 8’s performance compares to Windows 7’s on the very same machines.

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Windows 8 has been optimized from the ground up to work great with low-powered mobile devices. But how fast is it really? Our lab tests will give you the answers.

Our Test Beds: A Broad Range

To get comparable results, we put Windows 8 through a variety of tests on several very differently equipped systems. We used:

  • Two Desktop PCs: We installed the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on both a 2007-era desktop PC (Core 2 Duo, 2.66 GHz) and a recent Alienware gaming rig (Core i7 930, 8 GB RAM).
  • Two Laptops/Tablets: We also tested a low-powered Core i7 1.8 GHz, 4 GB RAM 13” laptop, which includes a 256 GB SSD, as well as an Asus EP121 tablet sporting a Core i5 processor, 4 GB of RAM and a 64 GB SSD.
  • Netbook: We used a very common Samsung NC10 netbook running a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom and 2 GB of RAM.

We didn’t install any tools on those machines except for the applications that we frequently use for benchmarking. As usual, we performed all tests three times to get a good idea of the results. As usual, we put both OSs through the typical rounds of analyzing boot time, raw processing power and application launch speed. However, since this is a Consumer Preview, we just want to give a quick impression rather than perform a full-blown review—we’ll save that for later!

#1 – Boot Time Performance

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Windows 8 is widely known for booting up extremely quickly. I used a stopwatch to determine how long it took until the desktop under Windows 7 and the new Metro user interface under Windows 8 was visible. The results will blow you away.

On all machines, Windows 8 was able to surpass its predecessor—right out of the gate, the new OS booted much more quickly. Once the final version hits, we’ll go through our usual paces of running Windows Performance Analyzer to determine if and how much background activity during boot was reduced.

#2 – Processes on a Fresh System

Last September, Microsoft boasted about less processes and reduced RAM consumption. Obviously, the less things that are running in the background, the better performance and longer battery life will be, as idle times are much higher. Right after we clean installed both Windows 7 and Windows 8, we compared the usage.

What we found was not necessarily a big achievement, but an achievement nonetheless. We saw a decrease of five processes as well as a drop in RAM usage by about 100 MB. In your day-to-day routine, this won’t be of particular help. What is helpful, however, are the drastically reduced idle activities. On Windows 8, Microsoft managed to reduce overall background activity noticeably—both on the software and on the driver side. By default, the bare OS’s processes and services rarely cause any noticeable spikes.

#3 – Application Start-up Times

Application start-up times give us a good indication of the OS’s ability to pre-load data and quickly manage smaller file chunks. To test this, we “trained” Windows’s own SuperFetch feature by loading Outlook 2010 every morning at exactly 9 a.m. and keeping it running on both the Windows 7 SP1 and the Windows 8 OSs all day long. After a couple of days, Windows had adapted. Then, we were able to use the trusty AppTimer, which automatically launches applications and measures start-up times down to the millisecond.

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Now, how long does it take? We only performed this test on the Core i7 1.8 GHz laptop.

There was a difference in so called “cold” and “warm” startups – cold refers to the first startup of the application right after boot, and warm refers to subsequent launches that are all completely loaded from memory and, thus, faster. The differences were hardly noticeable, but there was a clear trend towards Windows 8 loading applications a tad slower; however, this could be attributed to hard disk controller drivers.

#4 – Office Performance

To test day-to-day performance, we used the dependable PCMark 7 benchmark tool that automatically performs tasks such as website rendering, virus scans, photo manipulation and video editing. It should easily prove how well Windows 8 can handle both CPU and hard disk heavy tasks.

We found mixed results. While Windows 8 achieved quite a leap in performance on the faster machines, the lower-end devices, especially the netbook, actually suffered a bit. This ran noticeably slower during the tests, which was also noticeable during day-to-day usage.

#5 – Gaming Performance

The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. benchmark is a very well established test program designed to measure frames per second in DirectX games. As usual, we performed all tests three times and averaged the results.

The gaming front seems to profit from Windows 8’s reduced memory usage and apparent optimization to DirectX. But, those results should be taken with a grain of salt: Windows 8 installed some more recent beta drivers that were not available for Windows 7 SP1.To compensate for the effect, we downloaded the most recent beta drivers for nVIDIA and Intel onboard graphics. Overall, the netbook suffered a small amount again, while the faster machines gained quite a bit of performance.

#6 – Overall Verdict: Good Improvements, Some Losses

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview runs well on higher-end devices, but we were surprised to see that it lost some performance on lower-end machines—the very exact devices that it’s supposed to run well on. However, I’ll wait for the release candidate to make a final judgment. We may have an odd combination of unfinished drivers and code and bugs that may affect benchmarks (which is exactly why I only used a handful of my tests to get a general feel for new OS’s performance).

Overall, Windows 8 is going in the right direction. However, judging bare operating systems can only reveal so much.We’ll find out how it really works when we’re able to test third-party applications and the Metro-style apps. Do these negatively impact performance over time? We’ll find out in part two of our Windows 8 performance series.

A Close Look at Windows 8 Performance: Winners and Losers (Part 2)

In last week’s blog post, we performed some early performance benchmarks and compared Windows 7 SP1 with the recently released Windows 8 Consumer Preview. While speed improved in some scenarios, other aspects suffered a bit. However, the important thing to remember is, performance doesn’t just depend on the underlying operating system (OS); it also relies on the applications that run constantly in the background.

Third-Party Applications: Still a Problem

I’ve now been productively working with Windows 8 for a couple of weeks! I have been using this OS day in and day out and have installed all of my applications.

While I was surprised by the system’s initial responsiveness, overall speed reduced after installing about 80 programs, which consisted of Skype, Live Messenger, SnagIt and games and office applications. It didn’t slow things down to a crawl, but it introduced quite a bit of lag and noticeably less performance—so I found myself again having to use tools such as TuneUp Program Deactivator, Autoruns, Startup Manager and Windows’ own service tools to turn off certain applications. This isn’t out of the ordinary though. It’s a fact of life, and Microsoft will likely stay away from this department, despite the fact that the company has introduced quite a nice Task-Manager that shows the impact of start-up applications.

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Closed Apps Still Run in the Background

Having worked with Windows 8 on both a desktop and a tablet, in addition to switching between a variety of apps, I noticed a bit of a lag when handling apps. First, switching between apps had a delay of between one second and several seconds. Second, the system slowed down in “classic desktop” mode although no applications were running.

Microsoft promised several times on its Engineering 8 Blog that inactive applications would be frozen and couldn’t consume PC resources. When looking at the multi-tasking switcher on the left, I was proven right. Windows 8 actively held about six apps at a time before apparently closing them. What I found instead, however, annoyed me a bit. The so-called frozen applications remain in the background.

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While only the most critical of those apps were active in the background (Mail, Messaging, Music, etc.), all other apps just sat there consuming memory. Overall, I had about 500 MB worth of apps sitting in memory and not doing a whole lot. That’s not as bad as some browsers, but it’s still not quite as effective as it could be.

Why is this happening? The memory is actually consumed by the frozen state of the app. This means that once an app is closed (which is done by a swiping gesture from the top to the bottom of the screen), it can be resumed instantly. Even though this is a good feature, most users likely aren’t aware that this instant resume may have a detrimental effect on performance—and there are applications that most people only start once, use for 10 minutes and don’t touch again. So why keep those apps =running in the background?

Of course, a restart purges the memory of all app states, but many users go a long time without ever shutting down or restarting their PCs. In fact, Microsoft has designed Windows 8 to be more of an “Always On Standby” experience—they hide the restart and shutdown buttons in the charms menu and encourage users to use their power buttons to go to standby.

Is this really a problem? Well, it all depends on the usage of the user. If you’re just using three or four of your favorite apps, this doesn’t concern you. A hundred MB won’t make a huge difference. If you’re using a wide array of Metro-style apps and switch back to your classic desktop applications, this might affect performance. Having half a gig of apps sitting in memory just waiting for you to start them again is detrimental to performance. I wish apps would actually close if you perform the aforementioned swipe gesture.

Again, it’s very early to talk about these things. Windows 8 is in its Consumer Preview stage, but I am not sure if Microsoft really is considering giving back more control to the user who actually wants it. We’ll keep you up-to-date on this.

Sandro Villinger’s professional background – IT Journalist/Consultant

Managing Editor: Hewlett-Packard HPIO Germany

PR Manager/Technical Consulting: TuneUp Software GmbH

Publications US: IDG ITWorld, HP Input/Output, TuneUp Blog

Publications DE:  ComputerBILD, PC Pr@xis, MS Press, Windows-Tweaks.info

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Filed under Operating Systems, Reports, Software, Windows 8

OPSWAT’s March 2012 Security Industry Market Share Analysis

imageWindows XP is dead-dead-dead. After all, Windows XP is a has-been in the world of operating systems – now 2+generations behind – and, eating dust. Or, so say all the pundits.

If you’re an XP user, as I am, then you can take some solace from OPSWAT’s latest quarterly report (released today), bolstered by more than 353,000 data points, which clearly shows Windows XP continues to hold substantial market share. In fact, according to OPSWAT’s data – Windows XP remains the most popular Windows operating system in both North America and worldwide, with slightly under half of computers using XP.

I’ll point out – I also run with Windows 7 and, Windows 8 Consumer Preview (a super system once one has crossed the “I have to learn some new stuff” barrier) – both of which are considerably safer overall than XP. So, I have no ax to grind – but, I do have an XP horse in the race. There’s little doubt of course, that XP will eventually disappear from the scene – but, not quite yet.

Windows 7, and rightfully so, continues to blaze ahead in the race to displace XP from its preeminent market position and, as shown in the following OPSWAT graphic, now commands better than 46% of the operating system market both in North America, and world wide. Windows Vista on the other hand, is barely on the horizon.

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Graphic courtesy OPSWAT

Additionally, the OPSWAT report takes a close look at world wide and North American Antivirus vendors market share and, the gathered information in this latest report shows virtually no shift in market penetration from previous reports. In the world wide market place, the same Top 10 players, as expected, continue to hold substantial positions.

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Graphic courtesy OPSWAT

In the North American marketplace, the same high penetration ratios exist although, the players shift position – with Symantec jumping into first position overall, from its sixth position worldwide.

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Graphic courtesy OPSWAT

Microsoft, as shown in the following graphic, continues to gain ground with a fairly dramatic shift in growth.

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As in previous OPSWAT reports, free security solutions remain at the top of the market with the highest numbers of installations. The top three products in North America, and worldwide, are available free for download.

OPSWAT’s analysis of the peer to peer application market share surprised me somewhat, since it showed LimeWire continuing to hold a market share -despite a court injunction prohibiting the use of the application, dated October 26, 2010.

On the other hand, there was no surprise in seeing µTorrent maintaining its lead over the competition in the public file sharing application market – as the following graphic indicates.

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Graphic courtesy OPSWAT

The full report which is chock fill of absorbing statistics is available here.

So, who is OPSWAT?

If you’re a techie, then you’re very likely familiar with AppRemover, a free powerful anti-malware, antivirus application remover, and Metascan Online, a free online file scanner – both from OPSWAT. Beyond this direct connection however, you might not be familiar with OPSWAT.

From the site:

OPSWAT is the industry leader in software management SDKs, interoperability certification and multiple-engine scanning solutions. Our solutions are simplified and comprehensive, solving complex development problems to reduce time and costs for your engineering and testing teams.

OPSWAT offers software manageability solutions to streamline technology partnerships between leading technology solutions and software vendors. By enabling seamless compatibility and easy management capabilities, we make connecting your solutions with other software applications effortless.

Our innovative multi-scanning solutions deliver optimized anti-malware protection that increases detection rates without sacrificing performance with slow and cumbersome scans. Because no single anti-malware engine can catch every threat, we combine multiple engines to scan simultaneously, significantly improving the probability of detecting a threat.

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Filed under OPSWAT, Reports

Is Windows XP Dead? Not According To OPSWAT’s June 2011 Quarterly Report

imageTo quote Mark Twain, “The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” I suspect, if Windows XP were capable of speech, we just might hear the same observation repeated regarding its own demise.

Sure, Windows XP no longer holds the overwhelming market share it once held – which, according to Computerworld, reached a high of  83.6% of all operating systems in November 2007. But, statistics in OPSWAT’s latest quarterly report, to be released today, might surprise those pundits who frequently pontificate that XP is dead – dead – dead. We’ll, it just isn’t so!

There’s little doubt of course, that XP will eventually disappear from the scene – but, not quite yet. In the meantime, according to OPSWAT, XP continues to hold a better than 50% worldwide operating system market share at 55.84%, followed by Windows 7 at 38.81%. Vista trails the pack, with a dismal showing of 4.72%.

BTW, I’m not here to dispute the fact that Windows 7 is considerably safer overall than XP – that would be simply ludicrous. But, it’s equally as ludicrous to ignore the fact (as so many self described “experts” do), that XP continues to command a huge market share. 

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Graphic courtesy OPSWAT

Additionally, the OPSWAT’s report takes a close look at Worldwide and North American Antivirus vendors market share and, the gathered information may hold some surprises for those who assume that the security application marketplace is controlled by a select few major developers.

The following graphic reflects North American market penetration only. Worldwide statistics are available in the full report.

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Graphic courtesy OPSWAT

Report methodology: Usage data for security applications on Windows systems.

The data was collected using OPSWAT’s AppRemover and Am I OESIS OK? tools, which utilize the detection capabilities of the OESIS Framework to collect information regarding the applications installed on endpoint computers.

More than 43,000 data points were compiled for this report.

The full report which is chock fill of absorbing statistics is available here.

So, who is OPSWAT? 

If you’re a techie then you’re very likely familiar with AppRemover, a free powerful anti-malware, antivirus application remover from OPSWAT. Beyond this direct connection however, you might not be familiar with OPSWAT.

From the site:

OPSWAT is the industry leader in software management SDKs, interoperability certification and multiple-engine scanning solutions. Our solutions are simplified and comprehensive, solving complex development problems to reduce time and costs for your engineering and testing teams.

OPSWAT offers software manageability solutions to streamline technology partnerships between leading technology solutions and software vendors. By enabling seamless compatibility and easy management capabilities, we make connecting your solutions with other software applications effortless.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Antivirus Applications, Freeware, OPSWAT, Reports, Windows 7, Windows XP

OPSWAT’s Latest Quarterly Report Breaks Down Antivirus Market Share, Windows Usage By Version, And More

imageIf you’re a techie then you’re very likely familiar with AppRemover, a free powerful anti-malware, antivirus application remover from OPSWAT. Beyond this direct connection however, you might not be familiar with OPSWAT.

So, who are OPSWAT, and what do they do?

From the site:

OPSWAT offers software manageability solutions to streamline technology partnerships between leading technology solutions and software vendors. By enabling seamless compatibility and easy management capabilities, we make connecting your solutions with other software applications effortless.

As a Blogger, information gatherer, and distributor, there is an additional area of OPSWAT’s expertise that I find invaluable, and that is – the regular reports which the company releases on vendor market share for antivirus, hard disk encryption, backup clients, and peer to peer applications.

In its latest quarterly report, (to be released later today), OPSWAT has focused on Worldwide and North American Antivirus vendors market share, with additional data breaking down Windows usage by version and, bonus data on Peer to Peer application usage.

Here’s a few teasers from this report:

The avast! Antivirus product line has helped AVAST Soware maintain its position as the top antivirus vendor worldwide for the last two quarters, despite a slight drop to 16.19% global market share in this report.

Avira GmbH and AVG Technologies are second and third in global market share with 13.22% and 11.47% respectively. In comparison to the worldwide data from our December 2010 report, Avira GmbH shows a considerable increase of 4.96%, which could result from a higher percentage of the current data originating from countries where they have a stronger hold on the market.

The only other worldwide market share increases were by AVG, with a 1.76% gain from the December report, Lavaso, with a 0.82% rise, and Comodo, with a minimal increase of 0.06%.

Worldwide Antivirus Market Share

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Graphic courtesy OPSWAT

North American Antivirus Market Share

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Graphic courtesy OPSWAT

The following graphic might hold some surprises for those who insist that Windows XP is dead. If you were to Google “Windows XP is dead”, for example, you might be surprised to see 25 Million search results.

I’m continuously amazed at the gullibility of consumers, particularly here in North America, who are so easily convinced to discard workable solutions in favor of “the latest and greatest”.

As one who continues to happily run Windows XP on an older machine, I must admit to a certain sense of satisfaction when more than half of Worldwide users continue to resist Microsoft’s planned obsolescence cycle.

And yes, I’m quite familiar with the so called “security issues” inherent in running XP. What I find curious is – on the one hand we (those of us involved in system security), extoll users to develop situational awareness while on the Internet, while on the other hand, there’s a tendency to lay the blame for system intrusion based, in large part, on older operating system deficiencies. Marketing gone mad, anyone?

Windows OS Usage – by Version

Click on the graphic to expand to original.

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Graphic courtesy OPSWAT

P2P Application Market Share

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Myths, Opinion, Peer to Peer, Point of View, Reports, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

How Popular Worldwide Is YOUR AV Application?

imageA regular reader recently made the point that certain web sites (which are recognized for software reviews), tend to focus on the most popular security applications, seemingly at the expense of security applications that are less well known.

He has a point, I think – visiting some review sites might lead you to believe that the security application marketplace is controlled by a select few major developers. So, is that really the case?

A report released in December 2010, by OPSWAT, which includes data on both worldwide, and North American market share and usage data for antivirus software, might surprise you.

Here’s a few teasers from this report:

The avast! Antivirus product line has helped AVAST Software maintain the title of number one antivirus vendor worldwide with 17.53% global market share. ESET Software and Symantec round out the top three in global market share with 12.05% and 10.04% respectively.

In North America, fifty-three different antivirus companies were detected in this report. Of those fifty-three, five companies combined to control 60.74% of the antivirus market.

While Symantec still controls a large part of the market, trends are moving away from paid antivirus software and towards free antivirus solutions such as those from Microsoft, AVG, and AVAST Software.

Our current data shows that 58% of respondents were using a free solution, confirming our trend noted above when compared to a 42% free solution share as shown in our June 2010 report.

Microsoft’s Security Essentials Antivirus leads the North American Market for individual products with 10% market share, a 2.5% increase since our September 2010 report.

“Free” antivirus solutions also accounted for 3 of the top 4 antivirus products detected globally, as avast! Free Antivirus, Microsoft Security Essentials, and AVG Anti-Virus Free were all available as free downloads.

To view the full version of the report in PDF format, including relevant graphs, go here.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Antivirus Applications, Point of View, Reports, Software

Symantec MessageLabs Intelligence October 2010 Report – Targeted Email Attacks On The Rise

imageEven in a world where Internet threats present an ever evolving and increasingly sophisticated danger to businesses, targeted email attacks are the most potent of all – potentially dealing  devastating short and long-term damage to the victims.

Counter to intuitive thinking, a high degree of sophistication gives these low volume, highly personalized emails an edge, and a higher probability of success than mass email blasts.

The goal of targeted attacks is simple – an attempt to gain access to specific sensitive data, intellectual property or confidential internal systems, by targeting specific individuals and companies.

According to Symantec Hosted Services, targeted attacks on the retail sector took a big jump in October, with 25 percent of all targeted attacks directed at this economic sector.

When you consider that in the previous 2 years, less than half of one percent of targeted email attacks were directed at the retail sector – versus the 25% discovered by Symantec Hosted Services in October, it’s evident cyber crooks have a razor sharp focus on the retail sector.

The spam landscape changes constantly, and while your industry sector may not be in the crosshairs currently, given that 200 and 300 organizations are targeted each month with the industry sector varying, it may be only a matter of time.

Knowledge is power, and as computer users we need as much power as we can get in order to stay safe on the Internet, so I encourage you to read the highlights of MessageLabs Intelligence October report, just released today. The full report is available here.

Selected report highlights:

Spam: In October 2010, the global ratio of spam in email traffic from new and previously unknown bad sources was 87.5 percent (1 in 1.4 emails), a decrease of 4.2 percentage points since September.

Viruses: The global ratio of email-borne viruses in email traffic from new and previously unknown bad sources was one in 221.9 emails (0.45 percent) in October, an decrease of .01 percentage points since September. In October, 23.1 percent of email-borne malware contained links to malicious websites, an increase of 15.5 percentage points since September.

Endpoint Threats: Threats against endpoint devices such as laptops, PCs and servers may penetrate an organization in a number of ways, including drive-by attacks from compromised websites, Trojan horses and worms that spread by copying themselves to removable drives. Analysis of the most frequently blocked malware for the last month revealed that the Sality.AE virus was the most prevalent. Sality.AE spreads by infecting executable files and attempts to download potentially malicious files from the Internet.

Phishing: In October, phishing activity was 1 in 488.0 emails (0.20 percent), a decrease of 0.06 percentage points since September.

Web security: Analysis of web security activity shows that 51.3 percent of malicious domains blocked were new in October, an increase of 17.7 percentage points since September. Additionally, 24.7 percent of all web-based malware blocked was new in October, an increase of 2.9 percentage points since last month. MessageLabs Intelligence also identified an average of 2,280 new websites per day harboring malware and other potentially unwanted programs such as spyware and adware, a decrease of 23.9 percent since September.

About Message Labs Intelligence:

Symantec’s Message Labs Intelligence is a respected source of data and analysis for messaging security issues, trends and statistics. MessageLabs Intelligence provides a range of information on global security threats based on live data feeds from our control towers around the world scanning billions of messages each week.

About Symantec:

Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world.  Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available here.

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Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Email, email scams, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Advisories, MessageLabs, Symantec, trojans, worms

MessageLabs Intelligence: Botnets On The Rise – Pushing Out 11% More Spam

I wrote an article, in June of this year, on FIFA World Cup spammers that turned out to be a popular article (over 4,000 reads) – so, I’ve decided Spam isn’t all bad after all.  🙂

I’m being more than a little facetious, of course. Spam, without a doubt, is one the worst things about the Internet.

MessageLabs Intelligence August 2010, report indicates (surprise, surprise), that there’s been a recent minor reduction in the total amount of spam in circulation. Offsetting this slightly good news though; the same report makes the point that spam, generated by botnets, has increased to 95 percent of all spam – up 11% in just five months.

The Rustock botnet continues to be the main culprit, pumping out 41 percent of all spam in August. This, despite the fact that the Rustock botnet has been reduced in size by roughly half.

Before you think that’s because we’re better at catching botneted machines – it’s not. The fact is, the Rustock botnet is now faster, and more efficient, because it no longer uses TLS encryption.

Selected stats from the report:

This month, there were a significant number of yet-to-be classified botnets responsible for spending 17.6 percent of all spam.

The UK was responsible for 4.5 percent of the world’s spam, more than double the percentage in April, and the UK is now the fourth most frequent source of spam behind the US, India and Brazil.

The US is home to the greatest number of bots, most notably Rustock, Storm and Asprox.

A PDF version of the full report including additional findings on spam and security threats is available here.

About Message Labs Intelligence:

Symantec’s Message Labs Intelligence is a respected source of data and analysis for messaging security issues, trends and statistics. MessageLabs Intelligence provides a range of information on global security threats based on live data feeds from our control towers around the world scanning billions of messages each week.

About Symantec:

Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world.  Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available here.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Email, email scams, MessageLabs, Reports, spam, Symantec, Windows Tips and Tools