(Redmond, WA, Tuesday, September 29, 2020) – Microsoft released a new, annual Digital Defense Report, covering cybersecurity trends from the past year. This report makes it clear that threat actors have rapidly increased in sophistication over the past year, using techniques that make them harder to spot.

In addition to attacks becoming more sophisticated, threat actors are showing clear preferences for certain techniques, with notable shifts towards activities to steal people’s passwords or lock up their machines until they pay a ransom. Below are some of the most significant statistics on these trends:

  • In 2019, the company blocked over 13 billion malicious and suspicious mails, out of which more than 1 billion tried to get people to click on websites that would attempt to steal their passwords.
  • Ransomware, or attacks that lock up people’s computers until they pay, is the most common reason business customers called Microsoft for help from October 2019 through July 2020.
  • Nation-state affiliated hacking groups around the world most commonly use attacks to snoop for intelligence; they also make attempts to steal passwords or drop software that allows them to poke around in a victim’s systems.
  • Threats to everyday things connected to the internet, like refrigerators or washing machines, are expanding and evolving. The first half of 2020 saw an approximate 35% increase in these Internet of Things attacks compared to the second half of 2019.

As people continue to work from home and organizations move more applications to the cloud amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the company believes it is more important than ever for governments to establish new rules of the road for cyberspace, and that a community approach to security is critical.

For more information on the announcement, please visit: https://aka.ms/digitaldefense.

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