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Cyberthreats are getting more intense

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/igor.stevanovic)

In the past year, cybercriminals have become a lot more sophisticated, a new report from Microsoft shows.

The Redmond software giant claims criminals have started to use techniques that make them far harder to spot, making them a serious threat to “even the savviest targets”.

This assessment includes all manner of cybercrime groups, from nation-state actors, whose new recon techniques increase the chances of compromising high-value targets, to groups targeting businesses, who have moved their infrastructure to the cloud in order to better conceal their activities.

Attackers have also developed new ways to scour the internet for systems vulnerable to ransomware, according to Microsoft.

Overall, techniques including credential harvesting, ransomware and IoT targeting have become a lot more popular in the past year.

“It is more important than ever that we take steps to establish new rules of the road for cyberspace," wrote Tom Burt, Corporate VP of Customer Security and Trust at Microsoft.

People should “focus on the basics”, Burt claims, which include “regular application of security updates, comprehensive backup policies and, especially, enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA).”

According to Burt, Microsoft’s data shows that enabling MFA alone could have prevented the majority of successful attacks.