The rise of e-commerce and online transactions during the COVID-19 pandemic has left a huge cybersecurity gap in Southeast Asia to the point that 70% of the regional population – around 400 million people – will be targeted by cybercriminals this year, according to a new report from Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research and Analysis Team (GreAT).
Ransomware attacks, phishing scams, and cryptocurrency fraud already target companies and individuals in Southeast Asia on a daily basis. In the coming year, the most significant cybersecurity concerns will be telehealth, biometric technology, privacy, e-commerce, online payments, remote working, and 5G technology vulnerabilities, according to Kaspkersy Lab.
Hackers may also be focused on crypto mining, planting malware through email phishing, executing virtual scams to gain money, or employing DDoS to hide their intended data breach activities.
Kaspkersy Lab further predicts an increase in cryptocurrency and NFT industry attacks, requiring crypto investors and users to be even more vigilant.
In 2021, numerous large-scale cybersecurity attacks occurred across Southeast Asia. In Thailand, over 40,000 individuals were scammed last year after their bank accounts and credit cards recorded strange transactions.
Last year, scammers also utilized phony bank websites to obtain banking information from Malaysians. Impersonations of Vietnam’s top e-commerce platforms were also used to defraud consumers into sending money.
In the Philippines, public school teachers fell prey to phishing scams via their Landbank payroll and savings accounts in January. Kasperksy Lab also recently reported that the Philippines is the worst-hit country by trojans in Asia-Pacific.
There is only one bright spot—due to extensive international cooperation and numerous task forces to track ransomware networks, ransomware attacks are anticipated to decrease in 2022.
Cybercrime is partly driven by automation in certain sectors, such as automatic dialing and automatic initial message delivery with expected follow-up action that triggers manual human-driven scam operations, according to Vitaly Kamluk, Asia Pacific director of Kaspersky Lab’s GReAT.
“In recent years, we observed that in many cases of data breaches the victims were neither able to identify the attackers, nor find out how they got compromised,” said Kamluk.