Microsoft today released Volume 13 of its Microsoft Security Intelligence Report, which states that malware infection rates for Windows 7 increased by as much as 182 percent in the first six months of this year.

"But even with that dramatic increase, Windows 7 remained two to three times less likely to fall to hacker attack than the aged Windows XP," writes Computerworld's Gregg Keizer. "Data from Microsoft's newest twice-yearly security report showed that in the second quarter of 2012, Windows 7 was between 33 percent and 182 percent more likely to be infected by malware than in the second quarter of 2011."

"Meanwhile, the report found that 'the infection rate for Windows XP SP3 increased' in the first half of 2012 'after declining for several quarters,' largely thanks to Dorkbot worm infections, as well as a Trojan downloader called Pluzoks, which is prevalent in South Korea, where Windows XP remains the most-used operating system," writes InformationWeek's Mathew J. Schwartz.

"Among other factors, those without advanced computer skills represent one of the reasons for such a boost in the malware infection rate affecting Windows workstations, the company said," writes Softpedia's Eduard Kovacs. "'This may be caused in part by increasing acceptance and usage of the newest consumer version of Windows,' the company said in the official papers. 'Early adopters are often technology enthusiasts who have a higher level of technical expertise than the mainstream computingpopulation. As the Windows 7 install base has grown, new users are likely to possess a lower degree of security awareness than the early adopters and be less aware of safe online practices.'"