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Microsoft: Our Bugs Aren't The Only Problem

Attacks that rely on "social engineering" tricks to fool users into visiting malicious Web sites are just as dangerous as any that exploit software vulnerabilities, a Microsoft security researcher argued this week.

According to Matt Braverman, a program manager with Microsoft's Anti-Malware Technology Team, data from the group's Malicious Software Removal Tool shows that dupes are as crucial to attackers as bugs.

February's update of the Malicious Software Removal Tool -- the utility is refreshed on the same schedule Microsoft uses to release security patches -- discovered an unusually high number of Alcan.b worms on users' PCs.

Microsoft's cleaning utility runs on about 250 million computers each month, said Braverman, and after its Feb. 14 update, it detected Alcan.b on more than 250,000 machines, or one-tenth of one percent.

"[That was] easily the top detection for the month," said Braverman. "Compare this to the MyWife.e worm (aka CME-24), which we removed from approximately 40,000 computers in February.

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