‘Ransomware attacks in Southeast Asia fell in H1’

Are hackers on quarantine as well? Ransomware attacks in Southeast Asia for the first half of the year fell more than half to over 504,000, according to a cybersecurity firm.

In a report on Monday, Kaspersky said attempts to breach personal data on computers of Southeast Asian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) plummeted to 504,304 hits in the first semester, from 1.4 million during the same period last year.

All six countries—Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam—monitored by Kaspersky posted a decline in terms of ransomware attacks. Among the six Southeast Asian economies, Singapore registered the highest decline by 89.79 percent ahead of Malaysia’s 87.65 percent and Indonesia’s 68.17 percent.

As for the Philippines, ransomware attacks declined by half to 9,701 hits, from 18,997 hits.

Kaspersky noted that Indonesia and Vietnam placed fourth and eighth, respectively, in its overall ranking of countries with most detected ransomware breaches in the second quarter. China, Brazil and Russia were the top three in its worldwide ranking for this period.

Ransomware is a malicious software that infects a user’s computer, locks the computer screen or encrypts important files with a key. It also displays messages asking a fee to be paid in exchange for the promise to have the computer to work again.

This kind of malware is used in criminal moneymaking schemes that can be installed through deceptive links in an e-mail message, instant messaging or web site, as well as a number of more sophisticated techniques.

Cybersecurity experts from Kaspersky have been forecasting as early as two years ago the decline of ransomware up to this year. Kaspersky projected that the number of ransomware attacks will go down because of growing awareness from the public.

Continuous reporting, as well as initiatives such as the No More Ransom project, which was cofounded by Kaspersky, provided resources to assist individuals and businesses to recover their data and devices from ransomware attacks. Resources included free decryption tools.

According to Kaspersky, the observed decrease in the region is attributed to two reasons: first, the decline of one of the biggest ransomware groups that hit organizations worldwide in 2017; and second, because of upgrades in software systems that reduced the vulnerability of computer systems.

Microsoft Windows, one of the world’s largest operating systems, has been the target of this malevolent malware.


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