Microsoft has released the latest edition of its Security Intelligence report, surveying software vulnerabilities, malware, exploits and security threats across the globe. Pakistan, Indonesia, Palestinian territories, Bangladesh and Nepal attracted the highest rating in attempted malware attacks, according to the report.
Focusing on the third and fourth quarters of 2015, the biannual report noted that Nordic countries, including Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, were among the healthiest countries in the world with regards to malware exposure. In the second half of 2015, the malware infection and encounter rates for these countries were about half of the worldwide average.
Countries with the highest infection rate included Mongolia, Libya, Palestinian territories, Iraq and Pakistan. Nearly half of all attacks originate in Asia and one-fifth come in from Latin America.
People in North Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia are reportedly more likely to encounter malware since they tend to have less protection than the United States and Europe, the tech giant said.
Microsoft also reported that millions of attacks occur annually, most of which happen when an attacker already has the necessary credentials – a user's login and password. Machine learning technology can often detect those attacks by looking for specific data points such as familiarity of the user's location.
"We look at north of 10 million attacks on identities every day," Microsoft manager Alex Weinert told Reuters. He also noted that not all attacks were successful in infecting computers.
According to Tim Rains, director of security of Microsoft, an average of 240 days elapse between a security breach on a computer system and detection of the breach.
"If I could use a second word to describe how they have changed I would use 'accelerated'," Rains said. "The focus and pace that some attackers have been demonstrating recently have certainly increased over time."