FILIPINO internet users who encountered online credit card skimmers increased by 20% in 2020, internet security firm Kaspersky said.

In an e-mailed statement on Monday, web skimmers, sometimes referred to as sniffers, where scripts are embedded by attackers in online stores and used to steal users’ credit card data from websites, caused the increase in the total number of web threats in the Philippines last year.

“The number of web threats in the country is about 37.19% more in 2020 compared to 27,899,906 web threats (44.4%) detected in 2019,” it said.

However, globally, the Philippines’ ranking in 2020 global web threat detections fell to sixth place from fourth in 2019.

“In the 2020 Kaspersky Security Network report, it showed that Kaspersky solutions installed in computers of Filipino users detected 44,420,695 different internet-borne threats last year,” the internet security firm noted.

“The report also revealed that more than four-in-10 (42.2%) of online users in the country were almost infected with web threats in 2020, putting the country at sixth place globally,” it added.

The Philippines followed Nepal with the highest percentage of users attacked by web-borne threats (49.3%), Algeria (46.9%), Mongolia (44.5%), Somalia (44%), and Belarus (43.9%).

Kaspersky noted the number of Filipino internet users who encountered web miners declined “by one and a half times.”

“A Trojan miner like Trojan.Script.Miner.gen is an example of a web-mining malware that is used by cybercriminals to secretly mine cryptocurrencies using someone’s computing power and electricity,” it said.

Internet browsing, unintentional downloads, e-mail attachments, browser extensions activities, downloading of malicious components or communications with control and command servers performed by other malware were among the top five sources of web threats in the Philippines.

Yeo Siang Tiong, general manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky, said: “The pandemic has blurred the lines between corporate defenses and home security.”

“Remote work, online classes, digitalization across all sectors will continue, at least for 2021. It is high time for enterprises of all shapes and sizes to understand that online threats against individuals should now be considered as risks against companies. We need to remember that cybercriminals never sleep. Hence, our security solutions should be automated, intelligence-based, and proactive,” he added. — Arjay L. Balinbin