SMEs warned of upcoming cyberthreats in 2016


HOMEGROWN small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are encouraged to brace for the various online threats seen emerging next year as they are susceptible, yet least armed to combat the effects on their businesses, according to a global security network provider.

Since over 96 percent of all the registered businesses in the country are SMEs, Fortinet Southeast Asia and Hong Kong Regional Pre-Sales Consultant Nap S. Castillo told the BusinessMirror that it is a national concern that needs to be addressed.

“In the Philippines it’s a serious problem if the attack affects enterprises. Cyber criminals mostly target the SMEs and even large ones. Big enterprises, of course, have the buffer and they have the insurance. But the problem with the SMEs is that they really don’t have the budget for cyber security. Hence, they are mostly affected once their network is compromised,” he said.

Citing the FortiGuard Cyber Threat Trends Prediction for 2016, the executive noted the top malware and network-security risks to watch out for, as these new malicious tactics and strategies will create unique challenges for vendors and organizations alike.

First and foremost, Castillo noted the rise of machine-to-machine attacks because of the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT).

At present, there are around 3.624 billion Internet connected devices worldwide. By 2020, Gartner predicted the number to rise up to 20 billion. With such an increase, FortiGuard researchers anticipate that IoT will become central to “land and expand” attacks in which hackers will take advantage of vulnerabilities in connected consumer devices to get a foothold within the corporate networks and hardware to which they connect.

While worms and viruses have been costly and damaging in the past, a new form of which come “headless” than can harm billions of devices from wearables to medical hardware with small amounts of code that can propagate and persist.

“This is called as such because we do not have the capability to monitor what is happening inside [the infected device],” Castillo said. “So imagine the number that was predicted by Gartner, which is 20 billion, and get 10 percent of that, it’s a very big or staggering number of devices than can be affected by these headless worms.”

Jail breaking the Cloud is another threat feared to happen in the coming year, according to the consultant.

In fact as early as 2015, he said that there is a vulnerability for open source hypervisor which is QENU, wherein the hacker can use the floppy disk driver to penetrate the hypervisor.

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Roderick L. Abad graduated from Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, with a degree course in Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication. He has 12 years of journalism experience, starting as a Special Features Writer in a major daily newspaper. In 2006, he moved to the BusinessMirror in the same capacity and, eventually, became a beat reporter. To his credit, he was a finalist in the 2011 Holcim Journalism Awards for Sustainable Construction and the 2013 Lasallian Scholarum Awards. He remains affiliated with the BusinessMirror as a contributor.