Despite news of recent cyber attacks that exploited a vulnerability on Internet Explorer — a vulnerability that Microsoft has since patched — that could leave an impression of increased vulnerability, the company says exploitations of severe vulnerabilities in the company’s products were down 70 percent between 2010 and 2013.
(Microsoft defined “severe vulnerabilities” as those that could lead to remote code execution.)
That’s according to findings from Microsoft’s latest Security Intelligence Report, which the company releases twice a year.
Among the report’s other findings, which pertain to the second half of 2013:
* Despite decreasing, Java exploits were the most common type of exploit detected by Microsoft anti-malware products.
* The most used technique to deceive people was deceptive downloads — getting people to download malware via click fraud or other means.
* Ransomware — in which malware makes a computer unusable until the user pays the attacker or otherwise accedes to the attacker’s demands — was prevalent in regions such as Europe and western Asia.
* The use of exploitation kits — collections of exploits bundled together that cyber attackers can buy or rent — is also on the rise.
The report also offered advice on keeping computers safe, such as staying current on security updates and using the newest versions of applications.