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"It is important to note that while deceptive tactics have increased in prevalence, there are actions people can take to help protect themselves and their organizations," Rains said. "Using newer software whenever possible and keeping it up to date, only downloading software from trusted sources, avoid opening e-mail and instant messages from untrusted or unknown senders, running antivirus software and keeping it up to date, and backing up valuable data and files, make it much harder for attackers who use deceptive practices to be successful."
'Click Happy' Users
We turned to Dwayne Melancon, chief technology officer for security firm Tripwire, to find out what he had to say about Microsoft's report. He told us we tend to focus on technology when we talk about cyberattacks, but most successful attacks rely on deceiving people into thinking they are doing something they want to do.
"It's encouraging to see that there were fewer exploits that relied on security holes in Windows, Adobe Reader, and Adobe Flash in 2013, but the number of compromised computers skyrocketed anyway," Melancon said.
That, he said, is because there is a huge population of "click happy" users who download infected files and click on links that lead to malicious sites.
"We are making good progress plugging the technology holes, but social and psychological vulnerabilities are the ones most commonly exploited by cyberattackers," he said. "Unfortunately, there's no patch for user naivete."