INTERNET SECURITY firm Kaspersky said the Philippines climbed to fourth place from 11th in its 2019 ranking of countries with the highest number of web threats.

Citing data from the Kaspersky Security Network, the internet security firm said in its report e-mailed to reporters on Monday that nearly 28 million internet-borne attacks against Philippine-based Kaspersky users were monitored and prevented last year.

It said the number accounts for 44.40% of the Philippines’ total number of Kaspersky users who encountered web threats from January to December last year.

The company added that 26.62% of them were “individual users” while 7.58% were “business users.”

Taking the first spot was Nepal with 51.4% of users experiencing web-borne threats, followed by Algeria (51%), and Albania (46.1%).

Ranked fifth after the Philippines was Djibouti (43.3%), followed by Mongolia (43%), Belarus (42.9%), Tunisia (42.7%), Bangladesh (42.5%), and Azerbaijan (42%).

In Southeast Asia, the Philippines led the top three countries with the highest number of web threat detections, followed by Malaysia (41.50%) at 13th and Vietnam (40%) at 17th.

Indonesia (36.10%) was 39th, followed by Thailand (29.10%) at 92nd, and Singapore (14.20%) at 156th.

Browser attacks remained the top method for infecting web users, according to Kaspersky.

Yeo Siang Tiong, general manager for Kaspersky Southeast Asia, was quoted as saying: “As far as web threats are concerned, among the noticeable changes we’ve seen in the region reflect the same scenario worldwide — strong activity of web-miners in the beginning of the year followed by a dropdown. There was also a growth of online skimmers that we’ve recorded. In the case of local threats, the overall situation in SEA is the same — there’s a drop in the number of cryptocurrency miners and a slight decrease in crypto ransomware.”

“In the Philippines, we believe the stern warnings against the use of cryptocurrencies and the newly enacted law which imposes harsh penalties against bank account fraudsters and credit card skimmers, are among the possible reasons for the changes in numbers. Despite these though, we can’t drop our guards and be complacent. The overall increase in awareness and level of security among individual Internet users and businesses only mean that typical attacks will be more difficult to carry out. And we see that cybercriminals will intensify their efforts towards social engineering tactics more and will veer away from PCs to focus on attacking mobile devices and other internet-connected hardware,” he added. — Arjay L. Balinbin