The overall number of Microsoft Windows vulnerabilities has increased 12.6 percent year-over-year, according to the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIR), covering July to December 2013. During Q3 2013, 5.8 of every 1,000 Windows computers reportedly suffered from malware infection - and jumped to a whopping 17 computers per 1,000 during Q4.
However, severe Windows vulnerabilities reportedly declined 70 percent between 2010 and 2013 - as Microsoft continues to increase security - but the sophistication of current threats are giving computer security companies fits. Cybercriminals are using social engineering to get users to click on malicious links, or install malware bundled with legitimate software, the report also indicates.
Malware authors are finding a great market, in which they can launch mass attacks for a low price and little risk of being prosecuted. To make matters worse, next-generation malware is able to easily circumvent anti-virus software that traditionally kept PCs more secure.