The Philippines must immediately act to prevent cyber attacks which could cause economic losses, according to global cybersecurity solutions provider Fortinet.
Fortinet Philippines Country Manager Alan Reyes said the company has detected and defended their customers in the country from an average of 23 million viruses, botnets and exploits per day in January to March.
“This is higher than the mean of 84 million per quarter last year,” he told the BusinessMirror on the sidelines of the company’s recent media briefing in Taguig City.
The cost for each security breach in the country was pegged at $1 million or P55 million over the last 12 months.
This, he said, makes it a more lucrative business for hackers who have become more sophisticated in their tactics.
“In cybersecurity, the bad guys only have to be successful once,” Reyes said. “[So imagine the cost of the] 23 million per day in order for them to get into the system.”
Like anywhere else in the world, both the public and private sectors are not spared from the prying eyes of these online felons, according to the company.
Locally, he enumerated that the top three verticals at risk of viruses during the period in review were the government, manufacturing, and retail/hospitality.
Botnets challenged financial services institutions, technology, and retail/hospitality.
Meanwhile, retail/hospitality, technology, and government experienced attempts to infiltrate their systems.
Based on a new Asia-Pacific SASE study of IDC commissioned by Fortinet, Reyes said 86 percent of all the decision-makers surveyed agree that cybersecurity skills is in shortage right now, and this increases the cyber risks. The study explored cybersecurity leaders’ perspectives on hybrid work.
He added that 45 percent of them have difficulties in getting the right talent with the right certifications.
“They find that people in their companies, or employees are not cyber aware, or does not even have the basic concept of what cybersecurity is.”
Adding to the threats is the complexity brought about by many applications presently available in the network that are already distributed across different infrastructures, either on-premise, in the Cloud, or in data centers.
“Now, imagine the next complexity that there are too many people, with too many devices, accessing too many applications in too many places,” Reyes said. “And because we have too many vendors to talk to, that in a way is harder for people taking the accountability to manage the technology and the process.”
While there is a constant initiative to invest or upgrade the cybersecurity system in the country, Reyes said education will also be helpful in addressing cyber attacks.
“Here in the Philippines, the No. 1 attack is phishing. And in my opinion, the No. 1 tool against phishing is really awareness,” he said.
“So I think the most important thing we need is the cooperation of the government, the public sector, and also the media to have security awareness training across all sectors. Even the simple cybersecurity measures for kids who are always connected to the internet, we should also do that.”
Given country’s growing requirement for cybersecurity talents, Reyes said it is high time for the Philippines time to offer it as a separate course and not merely as an elective in colleges and universities.
Without citing the exact figure, Reyes said cyber attacks in the country will continue to increase in sophistication and scale.
“It’s a subset of the digital transformation. As we become more digital, cyber threats also grow,” he said.
Image credits: Bloomberg