Cybercriminals have actively attacked small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in Southeast Asia (SEA) this year, said Moscow-based global cybersecurity company Kaspersky.
It said its anti-phishing system prevented 834,993 phishing attempts against companies with 50-250 employees, a 56 per cent increase from the same period last year.
The statistics were collated from Kaspersky’s solutions for SMBs using Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.
Kaspersky general manager for SEA Yeo Siang Tiong said: “The financial toll combined with the urgent need to adapt to a forced remote working arrangement without enough preparation undoubtedly put the IT security of SMBs on the edge.
“At the same time, cybercriminals are unethically piggybacking on the current chaos to increase their attacks’ success rate through social engineering tactics like phishing. Our data revealed such attempts are increasing as our technology foiled more phishing attempts this year than in 2019.”
Phishing is one of the most flexible types of social engineering attack, as it can be disguised in many ways and used for different purposes. Social engineering attacks, or tricking the mind, exploit human emotions to victimise users online.
Cybercriminals are also incorporating topics and “hot phrases” related to Covid-19 into their content, increasing the chances of their infected links or malicious attachments getting opened.
The damage ranges from hacking companies’ networks to stealing confidential data like personally identifiable information, financial credentials and even corporate secrets.
Besides, it is known that phishing attacks, particularly those with malicious links or attachments, are commonly used as launch pads for targeted attacks on organisations.
Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam registered an increased number of fraudulent emails blocked by Kaspersky in the first quarter compared to the same period last year.
Yeo said: “Small and medium enterprises form the backbone of the SEA’s growing economy, contributing immensely to both gross domestic product and employment.
“It is clear that governments across the region are aware of this as each has formulated different ways to help the sector during this challenging period.
“For our part, we are currently offering our select solutions for free to help SMBs and even the healthcare industry fend off escalating cyberattacks against them,” he said.
It is giving six months’ free licences for Kaspersky Security for Microsoft Office 365, and, in collaboration with Area9 Lyceum, has also prepared a 20-30-minute free online course on how to adapt to working safely from home.
Besides, to avoid being hacked by cybercriminals through phishing, Kaspersky experts suggest SMBs teach employees the basics of cybersecurity, regularly remind them about how to deal with sensitive data.
This includes enforcing the use of legitimate software and downloading from official sources, backing up essential data, and regularly updating IT equipment and applications.
VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK