Microsoft Admits Cloud Service Faces 300% Increase in CyberAttacks

Microsoft Launches Project Spartan Bounty

Technology giant Microsoft has revealed that its cloud-based user accounts have seen a 300% increase in cyber attacks over the past year.

In a blog post announcing its Security Intelligence Report – Volume 22, a security review primarily focused on cloud and endpoint data, Microsoft pointed to a key finding over the past year.

“As organizations migrate more and more to the cloud, the frequency and sophistication of attacks on consumer and enterprise accounts in the cloud is growing,” Microsoft security engineers wrote, pointing to a 300% increase in cyberattacks targeting its cloud-based user accounts.

Cloud services are “perennial targets for attackers seeking to compromise and weaponize virtual machines and other services,” the report further added. Over two-thirds of attacks targeting Microsoft Azure, the company’s cloud computing services platform, came from IP addresses in China. A further 32.5 percent of the attacks originated from the United States with Korea third at 3.1%.

The report also revealed Microsoft insights into ransomware attacks around the world. Curiously, Japan sees the lowest ransomware encounter rates at a meager 0.012% (figures from March 2017), followed by China at 0.014% and the United States at (0.02%). On the other end of the spectrum, Europe sees the highest ransomware rates in the world. The Czech Republic (0.17 percent), Italy (0.14 percent), Hungary (0.14 percent), Spain (0.14 percent), Romania (0.13 percent), Croatia (0.13 percent), and Greece (0.12 percent) had much higher ransomware encounter rates than the rest of the worldwide average this year.

In underlining its stance on ransomware payments, Microsoft also called on ransomware victims to avoid paying the ‘fine’ as it offers no guarantee that an attacker will restore access to a targeted computer.

Finally, Microsoft reiterated what has long been the bane of cybersecurity – bad cybersecurity practices.

“A large majority of these compromises are the result of weak, guessable passwords and poor password management, followed by targeted phishing attacks and breaches of third-party services,” Microsoft stated, explaining the reasons behind the 3000% increase in cyberattacks targeting cloud-based accounts.

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