new report (published by Microsoft themselves!) has shown the company’s cloud cyber security attacks have increased by an astonishing 300% from 2016. Microsoft alarmingly announced hackers have found a new ‘favourite target’, highlighting the undeniable fact you must keep your cloud based activities incredibly secure.

No idea where to start? Read below to find out the top 4 methods cyber hackers love to use, how to reduce your risk and what to do if you encounter one.


A ransomware attack occurs when malicious malware, which is activated by hackers, completely disables your computer. In these cases, hackers demand a monetary ransom to restore the computer back to its original state. In some cases, after an attack you may simply lose all your data, however there are still things you can do to reduce future risk.

What to do to

  • To reduce the impact of a ransomware attack always ensure your important files are backed up at all times
  • Contact legitimate authorities to report the crime
  • Never pay the ransoms! There is never a guarantee the hackers will rid your computer of the virus, while profiting malicious attackers actually helps to grow their ‘industry’

An exploit kit is a bundle of malicious software that can quickly locate a computer’s vulnerabilities and take advantage of them. Once installed on a compromised web server, it has the potential to reach any computer lacking security updates which visits the site. Trojans were the most commonly encountered software causing serious problems for Microsoft users.

How to avoid exploit kits

  • Install an antivirus and anti-malware softwarefor an added layer of security
  • Ensure your computer is regularly updated so the latest security patches are constantly installed
  • Educate yourself! A 2016 survey showed 68% of all business reported their employees were unable to identify the key warning signs of a cyber attack.

Microsoft’s report showed account sign-in attempts from malicious IP addresses rose by a whopping 44%. Shockingly, hackers can simply use stolen sign-in credentials of a user giving them easy access to your private information.

How to keep your login details safe

  • Have a strong password policy! The number one reason behind Microsoft’s increased attacks was from weak, guessable passwords. Read our blog on how to create a complex password policy today!
  • Avoid working in public Wi-Fi hotspots to reduce the risk of attackers overhearing your login details
  • Don’t be fooled by impersonators! Many hackers disguise themselves as IT consultants and will ring to ask for your login details, make sure you always know if you’re speaking to someone legitimate.


Two thirds of Microsoft attacks occurred within the US (32.5%) and China (35.1%). Even if you don’t live in these high risk zones, the remaining attacks were spread amongst a whopping 116 other countries, including Australia and the UK.

Do not put yourself at risk of cloud-based hackers! Have peace of mind that your important data is kept safe and secure, just as it should be. Contact Synapse IT Consultants today to see how we can help with your cloud security today.

Hayden McMaster