And the Gold Medal Goes to … Finland!

 The closing ceremonies are quickly approaching in Sochi, Russia, with ice skaters, skiers, curlers and other world-renowned athletes racing to stand atop the podium. But one nation is already seeing gold: Finland has once again prevailed as the country with the lowest malware infection rates.

We’re thrilled to honor Finland’s computer security efforts with the gold medal in the closing ceremonies of our blog series. Microsoft measures quarterly malware infection rates in 106 countries/regions worldwide in our Security Intelligence Report (SIR). The latest report indicates that Finland has demonstrated its prowess with the least amount of malware infections in the second quarter of 2013.

Finland has scored malware infection rates consistently below the worldwide average since we first started publishing regional malware infection rates in 2007 — and the latest SIR rates are no exception. In the second quarter of 2013 (2Q13), Malware was cleaned from just 0.8 of every 1,000 computers scanned compared to the worldwide average of 5.8.  When compared to our other finalists, Finland’s low malware infection rate was actually 27 percent lower than our silver medalist and 50 percent lower than our bronze medalist.  Additionally, only 6.5 percent of computers in Finland encountered malware, compared with the worldwide average of 17 percent.

Much like nearby Norway, Finland’s most common threat categories include Miscellaneous Trojans (4 percent of infected systems), Exploits (2.3 percent) and Trojan Downloaders & Droppers (2.3 percent). More information on the latest regional trends in Finland can be found here.

One of the reasons we highlight low malware infected countries/regions is so that others can learn and benefit from their best practices.  I have written about some of Finland’s best practices in the past.  For the most recent report, I asked Aki Siponen, National Technology Officer for Microsoft Finland to share his perspective on additional reasons the region continues to enjoy a low malware infection rate.  His perspective is shared below.

“Finland and the Finns have excellent background for building information security in the very fabric of our society. Education, technical skills and the tradition of public-private co-operation all contribute to good information security. The long-standing information security work by public and private players bears fruit in this ever-changing field. We have had our share of challenges, but we have been able to solve them and learn from them. We don’t always realize how much dedication and hard work each of us does and what we achieve. This award is an excellent reminder to all the focused and dedicated people to be proud of their achievements.

Hopefully the recent establishment of national cyber security center and some additional resources will enhance possibilities to increase co-operation in the national as well as international level and hopefully Microsoft with our excellent knowledgebase and expertise can play a significant role also here in Finland in helping to keep information secure and protect privacy of each in this era of cloud transformation.”

We have deeply analyzed our quarterly telemetry and celebrated healthy computer environments in Norway, Japan and now, our gold medalist, Finland. As we close this chapter in our global competition, we want to know: Which countries or regions were you rooting for? Do you have any best practices to add to our list? Comments and suggestions are always welcome and can be provided on our Twitter handle @MSFTSecurity.

Tim Rains
Trustworthy Computing

About the Author
Tim Rains

Chief Security Advisor, Microsoft Worldwide Cybersecurity & Data Protection

Tim Rains is Chief Security Advisor of Microsoft’s Worldwide Cybersecurity & Data Protection group where he helps Microsoft’s enterprise customers with cybersecurity strategy and planning. Formerly, Tim was Director Cybersecurity & Cloud Strategy in Trustworthy Computing at Microsoft, where he Read more »