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Microsoft Security Intelligence Report sheds light on cybersecurity risk in the Americas

Following the release of Microsoft’s 24th edition Microsoft Intelligence Security Report (SIR), the company dives into regional insights revealing Puerto Rico security risk is lower than global averages.

This year’s edition of the report includes an overview of the security landscape, lessons learned from the field, and cyber security best practices to better protect consumers, partners and customers.

The recently published report analyzes the 6.5 trillion threat signals that go through the Microsoft cloud every day, insights from thousands of security researchers based around the world, and lessons from real-world experiences such as the Ursnif malware campaign and the Dofoil coin-miner outbreak. 

According to the report, Microsoft’s security team breaks down four main global trends:  

  • Ransomware attacks are on the decline: Ransomware encounters have decreased by 78% across the Americas, making the encounter rate 40% lower than the global average. 
  • Cryptocurrency mining is prevalent: With a low barrier of entry, cybercriminals are leveraging the wide availability of mining software and repacking them into malware, however in the Americas, cryptocurrency mining is 58% lower than the global average. 
  • Software supply chains are at risk: By incorporating a compromised component into a legitimate application or update package, which then is distributed to the users via the software, attackers can take advantage of the trust that users have in their software vendors, making it very difficult to detect. Findings from past examples, including the Dofoil campaign, illustrate how wide-reaching these types of attacks are and what Microsoft is doing to prevent and respond to them. 
  • Phishing remains a preferred attack method: Phishing continues to be a popular method of attack, although, much like ransomware, bad actors have shifted tactics in response to the more sophisticated tools and techniques that have been deployed to deter attacks and protect users.   

“Attackers look for evolving opportunities, so the more we know about their techniques and tradecraft, the better prepared we’ll be to build defenses and respond quickly for the good of our customers and their business,” said Robert Ivanschitz legal and corporate affairs director for Microsoft Latinoamérica.

“A key trend in Puerto Rico is to lower risks, for example Malware is 27% lower than the global average and Ransomware is 40% lower than the global average. Small important steps can make a huge difference in our overall cybersecurity health, helping us to continue this decrease trend,” he said.

Additional findings highlight key positive changes such as the decrease in Malware encounter rates by 47% in the Americas as a whole, putting the region’s encounter rate 27% lower than the global rate.  

“With new findings like increased supply chain activity, coin mining and phishing practices, Microsoft assures 2018 was a year full of significant positive steps forward. Thanks in part to Microsoft cybersecurity professionals that implemented defensive techniques, attackers were forced to change their preferred payloads and move away from ransomware,” said Diana Kelley, Microsoft’s Cybersecurity Field CTO.

“Along with deep insights on the shifting malware and attack landscapes, the report aids Microsoft to identify recommended steps and other practical advice to defend and protect organizations more effectively against cyber attackers,” she said. 

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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