Cloud computing has seen rapid growth over the past several years, and experts estimate that the cloud computing market will more than double its value over the next few years. As cloud computing is widely adopted, cybercrime threats to cloud services is also on the rise. Criminals are targeting users in several ways, from the use of traditional hacking techniques to more sophisticated malware types, and even abusing emerging technologies in AI.

Common threats to businesses include business email compromise (BEC) attacks (to get money) and phishing attacks (to get sensitive information or inject a system with malware). In 2019 alone, the Trend Micro Smart Protection Network blocked over 47 billion email threats. This was a 14% increase than the previous year. Malware threats dropped slightly from the previous year, but phishing and BEC attacks saw a significant increase.

BEC is a booming business. The FBI reports that these scams cost companies $1.7 billion in 2019. One organization studied had around 80,000 Office 365 users and over 550,000 high-risk email threats. That is an average of seven malicious emails per user.

Credential phishing has also been on the rise over the past several years. The Trend Micro Smart Protection Network detected more than double Office 365-related attacks in 2019 than the previous year. As phishing attacks, particularly credential phishing, become more sophisticated, hackers are now attempting to gain access to administrator accounts. If a hacker is able to gain this level of access, it gives them the ability to extend their reach and allows the hacker to cause more widespread damage.

Because of the rapid increase in cloud computing technologies, and the evolving attacks used by cybercriminals, a single security gateway is no longer strong enough to protect against email-based threats. Organizations should consider a comprehensive approach that has a multilayered security solutions to protect their company.

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