Four major cyberthreats Filipinos should know about


    by Lourdes C. Escolano

    FILIPINOS spend an average of 10 hours on the Internet daily, according to reports from social media observers We Are Social and Hootsuite released earlier this year.

    This amount of time spent online increases exposure to cyberattacks. The Philippines is, in fact, in the top 10 most attacked countries in the world with 10.6 million web infections detected in early 2018.

    A recent Microsoft and Frost & Sullivan study reveals that with the frequency of attacks today, a large organization is estimated to lose over $7.5M because of cybersecurity threats. More than the monetary damage, these threats can cause emotional distress and even lead to job loss.

    Microsoft’s Security Intelligence report analyzed over 6.5 trillion threats from the Cloud worldwide and identified the top four cyberthreats Filipinos encounter every day.

    The first is malware, or “malicious software”, the term used to describe all programs that can disturb, destroy or get access to a computer system without permission. Commonly delivered via social media links, email or even text messages, malware includes cryptojacking, ransomware, and drive-by downloads all of which cause impaired usability, data loss, intellectual property theft, and financial losses. Microsoft reports malware attacks in the country is 124 percent higher than the global average and 63 percent higher than the Asia Pacific region.

    Cryptojacking is the next biggest threat as Filipinos are into investing in Bitcoin, Ethereum, or other cryptocurrencies. The high yield of these digital investments attracts cybercriminals who find creative ways to bypass security measures. These attacks use gadgets’ resources to mine cryptocurrency, with fast battery drain as one of the most obvious indicators.

    Filipinos are attacked 114 percent more than the APAC region and 150 percent more than the other parts of the world despite cryptocurrency transactions being encrypted, anonymous and almost untraceable.

    At number three is ransomware, which is technically malware, but this time, an exchange of money is involved before the files or whole computers and even servers are released to the victim.

    According to experts, ransomware is the easiest type of cyberattack and it is to no one’s surprise that this is the most common digital threat. The country remains highly susceptible to these attacks, with incidents 36 percent more than the APAC region.

    Drive-by downloads is fourth in the list. A malicious software code that attacks any app, operating system, or trusted web browser that contains security flaws after undergoing an update drive-by downloads latches on to trusted things and installs itself once it finds a gateway to the system. With this, an innocent download or doing routine update can easily lead to a cyberattack even if one takes extra caution.

    The Philippines has 36 percent more DYD incidents than the APAC and 67 percent more versus the global average. According to Microsoft, the best defense against cybercrime is online precaution and vigilance. The best type of protection is acknowledging the danger beforehand and finding ways to avoid them.