Microsoft’s Security team analyzes more than 6.5 trillion security signals a day to identify trends that could affect the digital landscape that we all live in. After scanning more than 470 billion email messages that have been sent and received by customers of its Office 365 platform, the company reports that malicious phishing attacks are on the rise, and not by a small margin — by a massive 250 percent. Worse, techniques used by scammers are becoming more proficient and harder to detect.
When accessing your email, it is essential to take precautions against phishing — a practice that targets both individuals and businesses:
- Never send sensitive information such as bank account information or passwords within an email
- Always be sure to check the address from which an email was sent carefully
- If ever in doubt, contact the person or institution in question to verify if they had sent you a legitimate email or if it might be fraud.
Microsoft’s report also revealed information on malware attacks such as ransomware and crypto jacking. Overall, users encountering malware have decreased by around 34 percent from last year. Microsoft notes that many malicious organizations chose to abandon high-maintenance ransomware attacks for more low-effort, and lucrative, crypto-jacking campaigns — an attack in which malware is unknowingly installed onto a user’s machine, using its resources to generate cryptocurrencies for the attacker.