Home users are more likely to fall victim to a cybersecurity incident than enterprise users

Home users are more likely to fall victim to a cybersecurity incident than enterprise users

Microsoft’s recently released semi-annual report on cybersecurity has some very interesting things to say about the types of threats encountered by enterprise consumers (that is, those who are using Microsoft programs through a system that is managed by an actual I.T. department) as opposed to “regular” home users.

The report draws on a massive dataset – all the information gathered from Microsoft’s software and cloud services, to the tune of 14.3 billion logons every day.  The report analyzes the prevalence of all types of cybersecurity incidents, from worms to bots to Trojan horses, and everything else that cybercriminals have thrown at various Microsoft’s software over the last six months.

One trend is very clear:  when it comes to cybersecurity, managed systems are far better off.  In a comparison of enterprise users versus home consumers, enterprise users are 2.2 times less likely encounter most cybersecurity issues.  All those firewalls and system controls run by professional I.T. departments have a marked effect, keeping a broad swath of attacks from even reaching the systems of enterprise users.

Interestingly enough, there is some further nuance to exactly which kinds of attacks target home consumers more often.  Browser modifiers, which change the settings on your web browser for malicious purposes (usually through a pop-up ad), are over three times more likely to infect home computers than enterprise computers.  Home computers which lack managed firewalls give way to twice as many Trojan-style malware.

Lest enterprise users get too smug, there are certain kinds of cybersecurity incidents which are as prevalent and in some cases more prevalent on managed I.T. systems.  Software exploits, in which hackers use a flaw or “back door” to break into a system, are a problem faced by all users equally.  Ransomware, while it represents a tiny percentage of all threats, is actually faced more by enterprise users than home users.  (This makes sense – managed corporate systems are more likely to have data worth holding hostage.)

While managed systems are significantly less likely to be vulnerable to cyber threats, Microsoft notes that networks tend to foster recurring infections of certain malware.  Viruses which spread to peripherals like thumb drives or other external storage hardware are particularly hard to get rid of.  In an enterprise setting, those set off a war of attrition which can take some time to fully play out.  Of course, managed systems mean that someone is actually there to fight that war.

What’s the lesson here?  In short, working on a managed I.T. system pays significant cybersecurity dividends.  Without the firewalls and active protections of an enterprise system, users are left far more vulnerable to a wide variety of cyber threats.  As we’ve noted before, there’s also cybersecurity strength in numbers.  Criminals tend to go after weaker systems with known vulnerabilities – the low hanging fruit.  Managed enterprise systems are less likely to have these vulnerabilities.

Looking to manage your cyber risk through an active defense?  ECHO can help.