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A worthy upgrade: Next-gen security on Windows 10 proves resilient against ransomware outbreaks in 2017

Adopting reliable attack methods and techniques borrowed from more evolved threat types, ransomware attained new levels of reach and damage in 2017. The following trends characterize the ransomware narrative in the past year: Three global outbreaks showed the force of ransomware in making real-world impact, affecting corporate networks and bringing down critical services like hospitals,...

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Detonating a bad rabbit: Windows Defender Antivirus and layered machine learning defenses

Windows Defender Antivirus uses a layered approach to protection: tiers of advanced automation and machine learning models evaluate files in order to reach a verdict on suspected malware. While Windows Defender AV detects a vast majority of new malware files at first sight, we always strive to further close the gap between malware release and...

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Microsoft teams up with law enforcement and other partners to disrupt Gamarue (Andromeda)

Today, with help from Microsoft security researchers, law enforcement agencies around the globe, in cooperation with Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit (DCU), announced the disruption of Gamarue, a widely distributed malware that has been used in networks of infected computers collectively called the Andromeda botnet. The disruption is the culmination of a journey that started in...

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Microsoft Contact: Stephen Smith (stepsmit)
Agency: Cinco Design
Agency Contact: Kate Callahan (kate@cincodesign.com)
Photographer: Amy Sacka (http://www.amysackaphotography.com/)
Shoot month: March 2017
Location: Portland, OR
Business: LinkedIn Datacenter

Windows Defender ATP machine learning and AMSI: Unearthing script-based attacks that ‘live off the land’

Scripts are becoming the weapon of choice of sophisticated activity groups responsible for targeted attacks as well as malware authors who indiscriminately deploy commodity threats. Scripting engines such as JavaScript, VBScript, and PowerShell offer tremendous benefits to attackers. They run through legitimate processes and are perfect tools for “living off the land”—staying away from the...

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Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection defense for corporate networks against recent Office exploit attacks

The Office 365 Threat Research team has seen an uptick in the use of Office exploits in attacks across various industry sectors in recent months. In this blog, we will review several of these exploits, including a group of Office moniker exploits that attackers have used in targeted as well as crimeware attacks. We will...

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#AVGater vulnerability does not affect Windows Defender Antivirus, MSE, or SCEP

On November 10, 2017, a vulnerability called #AVGater was discovered affecting some antivirus products. The vulnerability requires a non-administrator-level account to perform a restore of a quarantined file. Windows Defender Antivirus and other Microsoft antimalware products, including System Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP) and Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), are not affected by this vulnerability. This vulnerability...

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Detecting reflective DLL loading with Windows Defender ATP

Today’s attacks put emphasis on leaving little, if any, forensic evidence to maintain stealth and achieve persistence. Attackers use methods that allow exploits to stay resident within an exploited process or migrate to a long-lived process without ever creating or relying on a file on disk. In recent blogs we described how attackers use basic...

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Defending against ransomware using system design

This post is authored by Michael Melone, Principal Cybersecurity Consultant, Enterprise Cybersecurity Group.  Earlier this year, the world experienced a new and highly-destructive type of ransomware. The novel aspects of WannaCry and Petya were not skills as ransomware, but the combination of commonplace ransomware tactics paired with worm capability to improve propagation. WannaCry achieved its...

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