For the past six years and half, Microsoft has been regularly publishing Microsoft Security Intelligence Report focusing on malicious and potentially unwanted software to provide relevant data, insights, and guidance to help organizations and individuals protect their equipment, software and users.
The report has become one of the international benchmarks for assessing the state of threats and malware in different countries and is based on statistics generated by Microsoft security programs and services running on computers in different locations, tracking certain families of malicious code (malware) or Virus. The Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (volume 14) was released recently with data from the third and fourth quarters of 2012.
The latest Microsoft Security Intelligence Report indicates a decreased CCM rate (one key criteria for data presented in the report is the change in a metric called computers cleaned per mille or CCM, which represents the number of computers cleaned for every 1,000 executions of the Malicious Software Removal Tool or MSRT) in Qatar. The CCM for Qatar reduced from 12.1 in first quarter of 2012 to 8.6 in the fourth quarter of 2012. The lower the rate, the better it is. This is indeed great news for Qatar as this means that the computers in Qatar are considerably secure against malware.
We can safely say that Qatar is the cleanest country in the Middle-East!
We asked Hamid Sadiq, Department Manager (Cyber Security Division), Q-CERT, Qatar Computer Emergency Response Team, and he told us, “Indeed the CCM rate has been consistently decreasing for Qatar and it is good news. In fact Q-CERT initiated a service towards the goal of reducing these incidences in 2011. It’s called Public Incident Handling (PIH) especially targeting home Internet users. Through this service we provide tips and guidelines to these users on how to use Internet safely.”
But for us to continue being safe, please remember that practicing safe browsing habits can considerably safeguard Internet users from encountering malware or malicious software. There are many simple ways to protect ourselves from malware:
- Keep anti-virus software updated (renew it before it expires)
- Update the software regularly
- Use original or licensed software
- Use a web browser with built-in safety features
- Pay attention to alerts and warnings while browsing
- Do not disable your computer’s security features or firewall
- Use strong passwords
- And most importantly, always look before you click!! (pop-up window, e-Mail, Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
IT departments continually keep their office environments safe by installing security software on computers and keep it updated. For home users, there are a large number of basic real-time products that can be downloaded absolutely free. However many Internet users choose to go unprotected despite so many options available. If you are not protected against malware threats, you are unintentionally putting your friends and online connections to risk of being infected.
Meanwhile Q-CERT’s Public Incidence Handling Team also provides assistance to users in removing malware infections using certain free tools. Users in Qatar should immediately contact the Q-CERT Call Center if they notice suspicious behavior on their computer that may indicate they are being subjected to cyber-attack. They can call the Q-CERT Call Center through their hotline at +974-4499-5444 or through their website.