Infections went undetected by anti-malware solutions on a significant number of Windows computers
After analysing data from the free Kaspersky Security Scan, a tool which scans computers for the presence of malware, Kaspersky Lab experts discovered active malware infections on a significant number of PCs. Malicious programmes were even detected on computers protected by solutions furnished by well-known IT security providers.
The data, from early 2013, was anonymously provided by users who had installed Kaspersky Security Scan on their computers. Analysis showed that although security solutions were installed on some of the infected computers, they were unable to ensure total protection. Kaspersky Lab’s experts conducted a number of extra checks and thoroughly filtered through the collected data. For example, computers running outdated security solutions which can no longer guarantee complete security were excluded from the research. Cases where malicious objects had already been quarantined by a security product were also excluded, with Kaspersky Security Scan recognising that this malware posed no threat. The final selection only included computers where malicious files were detected in critical OS folders, such as Windows, Programme Files, Documents and Settings.
More than 250,000 computers with up-to-date security software provided the data for analysis. Most of these were in the Americas, as well as Europe (including Russia and Turkey). Our experts are confident that this sample is sufficiently representative to mirror the real situation.
The absolute numbers of malware programmes that went undetected by security products varied. However, this is a problem for 4–5.5% of users, depending on the product vendor. The infection rates of computers with antivirus products also varied by country. The lowest percentage (less than 3%) was recorded in: Germany, Austria and Switzerland. A figure of slightly more than 3% was seen in Scandinavia and the Czech Republic. The highest infection rates on computers with updated antivirus databases (over 10%) were recorded in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, India and Egypt.
Kaspersky Lab has deliberately not disclosed the names of products or vendors, nor the number of computers affected, as such information could potentially harm the business reputation of other vendors of security solutions. The study was intended to be constructive, and after the analysis was completed, Kaspersky Lab notified the relevant companies and provided information about the threats detected.
“The data received by our experts once again confirms that threats are multiplying so fast that even today’s security solutions are not always able to deal with them promptly,” said Oleg Ishanov, Director of Anti-Malware Research, Kaspersky Lab. “We hope that the vendors notified by us will be able to release prompt updates to eliminate threats to their clients’ security. In addition, we expect that other security vendors will uncover possible shortcomings in their competitors’ products and encourage an equal exchange of such information. There will always be more virus writers than companies developing antivirus products, and only by ensuring a prompt exchange of information can we respond to the growing number of cyber threats adequately.”
Kaspersky Lab encourages PC users to perform regular scans of their computers using reliable third-party utilities such as Kaspersky Security Scan, no matter what security solution is installed on your computer.
Kaspersky Security Scan is a free application which scans the system for malware. It is a so-called Second Opinion Solution which does not need to be installed and can even be used on computers where another security solution is already in use. If malware is detected it sends anonymous data to Kaspersky Lab about the system scanned and the threats detected. The utility has been available for download since late May 2012. From May 22 last year up to mid-March 2013, Kaspersky Security Scan has been downloaded and installed by more than one million users globally.