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Malware and Adware: Microsoft fights back against cybercriminals

Pay-per-click (PPC) is one of the biggest ways of making money online. And wherever there is big money involved, fraud of some kind will appear eventually, and it happened in the form of “click-fraud”, where fake clicks are generated to increase PPC rewards. This has prompted Microsoft’s security and malware divisions to team up and fight back, while its Microsoft AdCenter (Bing Ads) and Microsoft Malware Protection Center (MMPC) are also teaming up with the Microsoft Online Forensics team.

While it is quite obvious that you will never get rid of malware, Microsoft hopes to stem the enormous flow of this kind of malicious software. And it is going straight for the jugular. In a recent blog post, it outlined some of these plans:

We are intersecting large data sets between malware telemetry and ad-clicks to detect anomalous behavior correlated to malware. And we are taking two relatively disparate domains of expertise and tools, namely malware and online advertising, and creating prevention systems and processes for identifying the entire chain of benefactors of click-fraud malware. In this way, we’re stopping the flow of illicit money at the AdCenter level.

NSS Labs reported that up to 70% of malware is written purely to generate click-fraud, and while one click does not generate a lot of money, linking up a myriad of advertisers and syndications will fraudulently make an immense amount of money. Similar to a mafia organisation, there are actually syndications that specialise in malware. Three malicious software families benefiting from click fraud has been identified by the security team at Microsoft. Ok, that’s not much, but it’s a start.

With all the changes that are happening in the computerised world, this can be financially and business wise very beneficial for Microsoft. It’s security division will benefit hugely and advertising will be more targeted.

Author | Stephan Lourens

Stephan Lourens
Born 20 years too early. Curses sometimes. Thinks too much. Believes plug-and-play is the best invention ever. If asked what he wants for his birthday he will say a gadget, then money. So he can go buy a gadget. More