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Monday AM June 7th, 2010

When a program on your computer crashes, you get a chance to send an error report to Microsoft. And reports about new viruses and worms are collected. Ever wonder how that data is utilized? Ed Mayberry reports.


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cyber safetyMicrosoft compiles this anonymous data on vulnerabilities into its Security Intelligence Report, which helps them design fixes and create more secure future software.  The company’s Tom Grezek is a security and management solutions specialist.

“We don’t collect any personal information, but what we do is we get a nice snapshot of what kind of vulnerabilities they’re seeing out there worldwide.  We also have large corporate data centers throughout the world that also feed into all the telemetry that we get that builds this whole picture of what we present in the security intelligence report.  The most prevalent today we’re seeing are what are called rogue security software that’ll pop up on your machine indicating ‘hey, you’ve been infected.’  Your average user says ‘wow, I gotta clean that up.’  So they click on it, and then they get your credit card and then they charge you $49.95, or whatever it is.”  

Virus software can help, but there’s a lag time between when a threat first appears on the Internet and when a fix is developed.

“The Zero Day issue is that time between when a new malicious threat comes out and when you can get a block in place so that your customers are protected.  You know, they’ll kind of always be there.  The only way to get away from those is to almost disconnect from the Internet.  You can minimize those threats by making sure you’ve got your firewall in place and your updates in place, controlling who you make friends with on things like Facebook, and then make sure that you’re running anti-malware software or anti-virus software on your machine, and have your firewall in place, and that’ll help minimize those things.”

Microsoft has tips consumers can use to protect themselves from security threats on its Website.

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