Over the last year, increased cashless transactions in Asia Pacific (APAC) made the region a favourite hunting ground for banking Trojans, one of the most harmful types of malware committed to stealing from bank accounts.
According to the latest statistics from cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, 22.26% of all banking Trojans discovered in APAC targeted the Philippines. Another Kaspersky survey in April revealed that the Philippines’ top five most prevalent mobile malware are all Trojans.
Banking Trojans weren’t the biggest worry for many countries in Asia Pacific until 2019, when an outbreak of infections occurred across several nations at once, according to Vitaly Kamluk, director of Kaspersky’s Asia Pacific worldwide research and analysis team.
“As we all know, the lockdown restrictions forced everyone to shift their financial transactions online. But now, after analysing the historical figures we have on financial threats, I also learned that there was another outbreak that started in early 2019 in APAC – banking Trojans,” he added.
The types of financial threat actors identified in Kasperky’s analysis are non-state actors—typically cybercriminals—searching for personal profits and unlawful profit, state-sponsored hackers, insiders, many actors (a mix of the other kinds), and ‘unknown’ individuals.
Furthermore, a Cisco report found that more than 50% of small businesses in the Philippines suffered cyber attacks in the last year, with some losing up to $1 million.
Local small and medium enterprises lost customer data (66%), confidential business information (66%), internal emails (56%), financial information (53%), and intellectual property (53%).
The number of mobile phone users in the Philippines is estimated to be 73.91 million, or 67% of the country’s entire population. Around 85.7% have installed shopping apps on their phones, and 42.1% have used banking applications. These apps rely on sensitive financial data, which is a gold mine for cybercriminals.
According to Kaspersky, most developed nations have low levels of detecting banking Trojans, while developing countries appear to have stayed a hotbed for cybercriminals since 2019.
The Philippines is followed closely by Bangladesh (12.91%), Cambodia (7.16%), Vietnam (7.04%), and Afghanistan (7.02%).
Related article: Know your enemy: Protecting against the next wave of ransomware attacks
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