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How Windows Gets Infected

For a long time Windows computers were infected because people didn't update Windows. They are getting pretty good at that, so now infections are coming from the failure to update other software. A recent and huge study by the CSIS security Group found that 85% of infections were caused by commercial exploit kits. Yes that's right, people sell kits for scammers to use to take advantage of vulnerabilities and infect computers. These kits exploit known vulnerabilities and provide these exploits to others. If you keep your systems and software patched, most of these exploits will not be able to harm you.

37% of the infections were through Java, and 32% through Adobe reader. This is one reason I recommend using PdfXchange instead of Adobe reader if possible. If you have to use the full Adobe program, make sure and keep it patched. 16% were through Adobe Flash, 10% through Internet Explorer 3% from Windows help and 2% from Apple Quicktime. These were almost all due to lack of patching the problem software.

Their conclusions were that over 80% of the infections would have been prevented if people had patched their software. This is why I recommend that all my clients use Secunia's PSI to monitor the software for necessary patches and then update their software.

Date: December 2011

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