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Microsoft: attacks that target outdated software are a big security issue

Tech giants unveils website to score browser's protection

Zero day attacks account for just 0.01 percent of all malicious attacks, says Microsoft.

According to the tech giant's Security Intelligence Report Volume 11, 'socially engineered' malware that targets outdated software is a bigger issue, accounting for 45 percent of all infections.

Out-of-date browsers are among the software targeted by these attacks and with Net Applications estimating nearly a quarter (24.4 percent) of all PCs connected to the net are running an outdated browser, there's clearly a lot of web users at risk. Furthermore, 15 percent of these are running Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6 or below.

As a result, Microsoft has joined forces with the Anti-Phishing League, Identity Theft Council, and Online Trust Alliance to educate web users on the role out-of-date browsers play in malicious attacks and how users can easily protect themselves. The new website, YourBrowserMatters.org, makes up part of this initiative.

The site will issue web users with a security score between 0 and 4, the higher the score, the safer the browser is. It also alerts you to which security threats such as malicious download, phishing scams etc, the browser protects against and which it doesn't. From the site, web users can easily upgrade to the latest version of any of the most popular browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome and even learn how to recognise phishing attacks and keep kids safe online.

"More must be done to help educate users on the need to move to more modern browsers and we applaud Microsoft's leadership and collaboration in this important initiative," said Craig Spiezle from Online Trust Alliance in a blog.

"The bottom line is users need to be aware that by using an out of date browser they are leaving the door open for online attacks. While sites and browser vendors may differ in their approach in providing users a "teachable moment" we stand united in the importance of using a modern browser."

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