Microsoft blames users for almost half of infections

Microsoft has released its latest Security Intelligence Report, and it comes with a statistic which is unlikely to surprise anyone responsible for family members' computers: almost half of all malware infections are the user's fault.

According to Microsoft's figures, around 44.8 per cent of all attacks analysed by the company's Malicious Software Removal Tool required user interaction - meaning that for nearly half of all infections, the user had to click on something they shouldn't have.

While automated attacks still make up the majority - with some 26 per cent of all infections being caused by a USB storage device containing a malicious autorun program, and another 17.2 per cent coming from network shares - the report shows that user education remains the biggest weapon against malware attack.

"Am I surprised? Not exactly: there has been a major shift toward social engineering in the past 24 months for cybercriminals," writes Sophos security advisor Chester Wisniewski over on Dark Reading. "As we all do a better job of securing and updating our computers, the lowest-hanging fruit becomes ourselves.

"This isn’t to say that Microsoft is innocent on all counts. We all have a role to play in protecting our digital identities, and with more than 80 per cent market share, Microsoft needs to continue to proactively find its own flaws and make it even easier for the public to make the right decisions. With great power comes great responsibility."

The full report can be downloaded in PDF format here.