Microsoft Increasingly Targeted By Hackers

Microsoft Increasingly Targeted By Hackers
Image: From Microsoft
Facebook may have decided that you shouldn’t see the news, but we think you deserve to be in the know with Lifehacker Australia’s content. To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, hacks and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Lifehacker Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a fix.

It stands to reason that Microsoft would be a big target for threat actors. Aside from the obvious hacker cred someone could gain from stealing source code or releasing corporate secrets, Azure hosts thousands of businesses and a compromise of that platform would be catastrophic for many companies. The most recently released Microsoft Security Intelligence Report points to an increasingly dangerous online world.

The full report [PDF, 61 pages] shows that Microsoft is now fighting off four times as many attacks as last year. Attempted sign-ins from known malicious IP addresses are up 44%. Communications with malicious addresses count for just over half of all attacks with 23% of attacks being based on brute force attacks and almost one in five attacks being email based.

In terms of where the attacks originate, more than two-thirds of incoming attacks on Azure services in 1Q17 came from IP addresses in China (35.1%) and the United States (32.5%).

Unsurprisingly, quite a bit of Microsoft’s advice for protecting yourself from the attacks they identify involves investing in and deploying other Microsoft technologies. In other words, there’s a bit of marketing-speak in the report. And the data in the report seems to be consistent with what I read in reports from other vendors and from independent analysts.

One of the pieces of advice put forward by Microsoft was around avoiding password re-use. While we all know this can be a source of vulnerability, it’s interesting that Microsoft Research has a slightly different view in some situations.