Crime & Investigation

Cyber Crimes: Microsoft Warns on Internet Videos

approved geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>According to Microsoft’s new data, medicine one of the most common deceptive tactics identified as a top threat in 95 percent of the 110 countries/regions where Microsoft data was examined was through ‘free or cheap online download of products’.

Cybercriminals lure their victims by deceptively asking them to download ‘free’ content such as software, music or videos found online.

This content is usually loaded with malware that can steal private information. In the last quarter of 2013, the number of computers that had to be disinfected as a result of deceptive tactics more than tripled.

Cybercriminals have resorted to these methods because of a 70 percent decline in the vulnerability of Microsoft products and other computer security programs made in 2010 and 2013 that have made it difficult to use simply attack computers without ‘free or cheap download’ temptations.

This is a clear indication that newer products are providing better protection from cyber crime.


Additionally, the increased adoption of several key security mitigations across the industry are making it more difficult and expensive for cybercriminals to develop software exploits.

Apart from deceptive downloads, other prevalent tactics used by cybercriminals include; Ransomware.

Ransomware often pretends to be an official-looking warning from a well-known law enforcement agency. It accuses its victim of committing a computer-related crime and demands they pay a fine to regain control of the computer.

“Of serious concern in Africa is the threat posed from illicit software downloaded from the internet, which is infected with malware deliberately bundled by cybercriminals,” says Daniel Kamau Anti-piracy Lead for sub-Saharan Africa.

“With the internet population on the continent fast-growing, downloading software online is a popular alternative but can have serious consequences if it’s not legitimate,”


While the threat of deceptive downloads is on the rise, their impact is often not seen right away.

Infected machines often continue to function, and the only observable signs of the malicious download might be a slower computer or unexpected search results popping up in a browser.

Over time, fraudulent activity like click fraud generated from the infected computer can tarnish an individual’s online reputation.

“Keeping cybercriminals on the run requires a robust security strategy,” said Tim Rains, director, Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft Corp.

“The safest houses don’t just have locked doors, they have well-lit entry points and advanced security systems. It’s the same with computer security – the more we layer our defenses the better we are at thwarting attacks.”

In light of this new information on cyber-threats, Microsoft advised customers to take a few actions to help keep themselves protected such as using newer software whenever possible and keeping it up to date; only downloading from trusted sources; running antivirus; backing up files.

“Migrating to Windows 8.1 gives users a chance to modernize their business, and prevent their systems from being attacked by malicious software. The End of support service is an opportunity for users to build a secure and robust working ecosystem to avoid any software compliance issues,” said Hasmukh Chudasama, Microsoft Solutions Business Manager at Dimension Data, E.A.

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