Misconfigured software and devices have been the cause of more than 80% of ransomware attacks, reports ZDNET. Applications with default settings, untested security systems, and inadequately protected cloud applications, as well as non-implementation of network access restrictions and attack surface reduction rules are among the most common software and device misconfigurations resulting in ransomware attacks, a report from Microsoft revealed. Researchers also noted that the growth of ransomware-as-a-service has exacerbated the exploitation of misconfigurations. However, such abuse could be averted with the proper configuration of cybersecurity tools, deactivation of macros and other commonly exploited scripts, implementation of multi-factor authentication, and immediate application of security updates and patches, according to Microsoft. "While ransomware or double extortion can seem an inevitable outcome from an attack by a sophisticated attacker, ransomware is an avoidable disaster. Reliance on security weaknesses by attackers means that investments in cyber hygiene go a long way," said Microsoft.