As world-class winter athletes compete on the slopes of Russia today, we decided to celebrate our own global medalists — the countries/regions which had the least amount of malware infections in the first half of 2013.
We have produced the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIR) for many years, tracking the countries and regions that maintain the lowest malware infection rates. The SIR reports infection rates using a metric called computers cleaned per mille (CCM), which helps assemble a broad picture of malware infection rates. To more accurately capture the global malware landscape, the latest volume of the Security Intelligence Report (SIRv15), also included brand-new telemetry to represent the encounter rate, which helps illustrate the frequency in which people are encountering malware. When you compare the malware encounter rates of operating systems to the number of computers that were infected and then cleaned by our Malicious Software Removal Tool, you get some sense of the effectiveness of security technologies and mitigations.
Because the data is normalized, this telemetry allows us to compare countries/regions with vastly different demographics and computer install bases without skewing data. As past reports have shown, countries with the cleanest computer ecosystems typically have a few characteristics:
- Strong public – private partnerships that enable proactive and response capabilities.
- Computer Emergency Readiness Teams, Internet Service Providers and others actively monitoring for threats in the region enable rapid response to emerging threats.
- An IT culture where system administrators respond rapidly to reports of system infections or abuse.
- Enforcement policies and active remediation of threats via quarantining infected systems on networks in the region.
- Regional education campaigns and media attention that help improve the public’s awareness of security issues.
- Low software piracy rates and widespread usage of Windows Update/Microsoft Update that help to keep infection rates relatively low.
We’ve ranked the top three cleanest countries using data from the latest SIR focused on the first half of 2013. Incidentally, all of these locations have a proud history of winter sports success. So, which will stand on the podium for their expert-level protection against malware threats? Stay tuned to this month’s blog series to find out our bronze, silver and — most important — gold medalists.