Sophos warns vs rise in cybersecurity threats

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By Patrizia Paola C. Marcelo

CYBERSECURITY company Sophos Group Plc has warned against increasing cybersecurity threats.

“The global threat landscape would be very similar to the Philippines, with ransomware, zero-day attacks,” Sumit Bansal, managing director, ASEAN and Korea at Sophos said in a media roundtable discussion.

Mr. Bansal added that phishing is on the rise, particularly with hackers getting “very good” at mimicking legitimate e-mail messages.“[The] 66% of malware is through e-mail. So e-mail is the way in.”

Of all the ransomware intercepted by Sophos Labs in 2017, the highest share was recorded in the United States (17.2%), followed by the United Kingdom (11%), Belgium (8.6%), while 6.5% circulated in Singapore, and 5.3% circulated in Indonesia.

“The richer countries will be targeted more, because they can get people to pay up,” Mr. Bansal said.

The Philippines recorded at 1.9% share of the intercepted attacks, but with increasing attacks and a wider range of techniques used.

Cyberattacks are becoming difficult to trace or locate, as cyber criminals use techniques to use different Internet protocol (IP) addresses.

The security software and hardware company also said it has noticed an increase in attacks on Android devices, because of easy access to Android devices and software, as well as its popularity as a mobile operating system.

“Android devices can go to non-sanctioned Google stores… Because of so many stores, you may have malicious malware sitting there,” Mr. Bansal said. He cited the case of Pokémon GO, wherein many Android users who live in places where the game was geo-blocked went to non-sanctioned stores to download the game, but he said 90% of those games were fake.

Mr. Bansal said, however, that no operating system is immune from attacks, with their company also seeing increasing attacks on Macintosh devices.

All these trends have made security solutions evolve. From an initial “reactive” approach, to an “evasive” approach, the solutions now are “predictive”, meaning aiming to stop ransomware and other attacks before they can even infect systems.