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Microsoft Secure

Sharing research and discoveries at PWN2OWN

The annual PWN2OWN exploit contest at the CanSecWest conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, brings together some of the top security talent from across the globe in a friendly competition. For the participants, these events are a platform to demonstrate world-class skills and vie for significant cash prizes. For companies like Microsoft, where we have...

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Poisoned peer-to-peer app kicked off Dofoil coin miner outbreak

On March 7, we reported that a massive Dofoil campaign attempted to install malicious cryptocurrency miners on hundreds of thousands of computers. Windows Defender Antivirus, with its behavior monitoring, machine learning technologies, and layered approach to security detected and blocked the attack within milliseconds. Windows 10 S, a special configuration of Windows 10 providing Microsoft-verified security,...

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Invisible resource thieves: The increasing threat of cryptocurrency miners

The surge in Bitcoin prices has driven widescale interest in cryptocurrencies. While the future of digital currencies is uncertain, they are shaking up the cybersecurity landscape as they continue to influence the intent and nature of attacks. Cybercriminals gave cryptocurrencies a bad name when ransomware started instructing victims to pay ransom in the form of...

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Behavior monitoring combined with machine learning spoils a massive Dofoil coin mining campaign

Update: Further analysis of this campaign points to a poisoned update for a peer-to-peer (P2P) application. For more information, read Poisoned peer-to-peer app kicked off Dofoil coin miner outbreak. Just before noon on March 6 (PST), Windows Defender Antivirus blocked more than 80,000 instances of several sophisticated trojans that exhibited advanced cross-process injection techniques, persistence...

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FinFisher exposed: A researcher’s tale of defeating traps, tricks, and complex virtual machines

Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (Office 365 ATP) blocked many notable zero-day exploits in 2017. In our analysis, one activity group stood out: NEODYMIUM. This threat actor is remarkable for two reasons: Its access to sophisticated zero-day exploits for Microsoft and Adobe software Its use of an advanced piece of government-grade surveillance spyware FinFisher, also...

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Developing an effective cyber strategy

The word strategy has its origins in the Roman Empire and was used to describe the leading of troops in battle. From a military perspective, strategy is a top-level plan designed to achieve one or more high-order goals. A clear strategy is especially important in times of uncertainty as it provides a framework for those...

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Protecting customers from being intimidated into making an unnecessary purchase

There has been an increase in free versions of programs that purport to scan computers for various errors, and then use alarming, coercive messages to scare customers into buying a premium version of the same program. The paid version of these programs, usually called cleaner or optimizer applications, purportedly fixes the problems discovered by the...

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Now you see me: Exposing fileless malware

Attackers are determined to circumvent security defenses using increasingly sophisticated techniques. Fileless malware boosts the stealth and effectiveness of an attack, and two of last year’s major ransomware outbreaks (Petya and WannaCry) used fileless techniques as part of their kill chains. The idea behind fileless malware is simple: If tools already exist on a device...

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