Microsoft’s New Digital Defense Report Reveals Recent Cybercrime Trends

Microsoft used to release a Security Intelligence Report each year to assess threats that are being faced by people due to data protection lapses as well as activities being conducted by a wide range of malicious actors, but the tech giant has discontinued this report and has instead been working on what it has been referring to as its Digital Defense Report. This new report would have a different focus in some ways although it is also very much a successor to the Security Intelligence report that used to be released, and the DDR for the previous year is now out and has revealed a lot of key bits of information about the state of cybersecurity as well as trends that are being seen in the world of cybercrime.

Microsoft compiled the Digital Defense Report, which has more of a focus on cybercrime trends in general rather than just the prevalence of malware, using 8 trillion security signals that it got from various entities it was protecting through its digital security applications and software. This includes billions of documents, emails URLs, authentication events as well as meeting minutes.

It turns out that there are two forms of cybercrime that have been increasingly prevalent over the course of the past few years, so much so that it would be fair to consider them to be the most important threats that need to be taken into account. These two forms of cybercrime have to do with phishing attempts as well as ransomware, and the former is an example of something that Microsoft is now actively collecting data on for the new Digital Defense Report since previously their security reports only reported on malware which would have placed a lot more emphasis on the latter.

Phishing involves impersonating a company or someone in a position of authority usually in an attempt to steal log in credentials from people. According to Microsoft, about 2 billion phishing attempts are conducted each year, and their own security solutions are responsible for blocking 13 billion suspicious emails that were most likely phishing attempts over the past year alone. These kinds of cybercrimes resulted in a $1.7 billion loss in total for the people that suffered from them last year, something that indicates how urgently security protocols need to be put in place.

Ransomware might even be a far more serious issue because of the fact that it was the primary reason why Microsoft’s response team was required in a lot of situations. Microsoft has strongly recommended patching VPNs to prevent issues that occur through these entities, as a lot of ransomware is installed through faults in VPNs that allow malicious actors to break through.

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