By Bill Minahan | July 22, 2019 | 0 Comments
Foreign hackers launched 10,000 cyber attacks on the U.S. in the last year alone, Microsoft announced. 84% of these hacks targeted U.S. businesses, while the remaining 16% targeted personal email accounts.
According to reports, most of these cyber attacks are coming from Russia, North Korea, and Iran. As many as 1,600 personal Microsoft accounts have been affected by these nation-state hackers.
Microsoft publicly disclosed these statistics to warn people of the extent and reach of foreign hackers. In one report, Tom Burt, vice president of customer security and trust at Microsoft, explains that these problematic attacks are not going to disappear overnight.
“The problem is real and unabated. It is time to find solutions,” says Burt. “Government and civil society have important roles to play.”
According to Burt, in the last year Microsoft has seen extensive activity from two Russian actors: Yttrium and Strontium. Russian cyber attacks on the U.S. are well documented and prevalent.
“This data demonstrates the significant extent to which nation-states continue to rely on cyber attacks as a tool to gain intelligence, influence geopolitics or achieve other objectives.” Burt said.
Microsoft hasn’t disclosed the specifics on how the hackers chose their targets or how they compromised accounts. However, experts assume compromised accounts likely didn’t enable multi-factor authentication (MFA), which could’ve been a contributing factor to the breaches.
Multi-factor authentication (MFA)—would’ve mitigated the risk of these compromised accounts.
In one report, Ian Thornton-Trump, head of security at AMTrust Europe, said we are at a pivotal point in cyber security.
“With a great deal of sensitive data in cloud services, if you are not using MFA to protect those services, you can expect that data to be stolen,” says Thornton-Trump. “It’s that simple.”
As a result, the only reasonable approach businesses and individuals can take is to prepare for cyber attacks. It’s vital that every employee, whether they be an entry-level hire or a board member, who can access a computer is trained and vigilant.
Russian cyber attacks on the U.S., as well as from other foreign countries, are likely to increase as the cyber world grows in size and sophistication.
In an increasingly connected world, third-party vendors can also be a liability. It’s important to know your companies vulnerabilities.
Additionally, awareness, preparation, and the use of cyber tools to combat breaches are all ways to ensure you and your business are safe from cyber attacks.
You can read about the 7 urgent cyber security precautions we advise every company to have in place.
You can also take our free cyber security assessment here to discover and defeat any vulnerabilities in your attack surface.