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As the cloud becomes an integral tool for modern businesses, it also has turned into an attractive target for malicious attacks. Providing an insightful picture of the threat landscape, the latest Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIR) draws from billions of security signals that Microsoft processes in its consumer and enterprise services on a monthly basis. The findings from the comprehensive, in-depth study offer enterprises an education on the state of threats for over 100 countries and regions, as well as overall best practices and solutions.

Analyzing trends from January through March of 2017, Volume 22 of the SIR reflects the importance of intelligent security measures as more businesses and consumers migrate their data to the cloud. Comparing the same period to the previous year, the report found that attacks on cloud-based user accounts rose by 300 percent. At the same time, the number of attempted account sign-ins from malicious IP addresses increased by 44 percent.

Hackers aren’t just stepping up the frequency of attacks; their tactics are becoming more sophisticated, too. Worldwide, especially in the U.S. and China, hackers are attempting to compromise virtual machines and services to weaponize them for further damage. Drive-by download sites, which automatically install malware on a vulnerable computer upon a user’s visit, are particularly prevalent. These malicious sites can be hosted anywhere, even on otherwise legitimate web pages, and can be very difficult to detect.

Consumers and businesses using hybrid on-premises and cloud solutions should note that hackers still target endpoint machines, frequently with ransomware, such as the recent WannaCrypt virus. And while encounter rates in the U.S. have remained low, our data found that machines in Europe are disproportionately affected by these types of attacks. Systems with out-of-date software and security features are especially vulnerable.

The threat of cyberattacks is evolving and growing, and the SIR articulates how enterprises and organizations need to keep pace with new and changing cyberattacks, and must adopt a strategy that protects, detects and responds to threats. Through the development of strong security products and solutions, unique intelligence into the threat landscape and strong partnerships, Microsoft is helping customers stay secure.

To learn more about security threats and best practices for defense, download Volume 22 of the Security Intelligence Report.