By Arjay L. Balinbin, Senior Reporter

INTERNET SECURITY company Kaspersky said the Philippines needs to boost collaboration with its neighbors in the region as well as partner with more private companies to build cyber-resiliency in the country.

To improve the country’s cybersecurity, there must be “public-private partnerships (as well as) regional and international cooperation,” said Genie Gan, head of Kaspersky’s public affairs and government relations for Asia Pacific and Middle East, Turkey and Africa, during a briefing on Wednesday.

“We encourage the government regulators to begin boosting its cyber capacity-building and cooperation efforts. These two are basically the building blocks of cybersecurity,” she added.

The company noted that web threat attempts against Filipino users increased 432.75% to 50,544,908 in 2021 from 9,487,775 in 2017.

The Philippines also climbed to fourth place from the 30th spot in Kaspersky’s global ranking of most attacked countries.

Kaspersky saw mobile malware attacks in the Philippines from 2019 to 2021 decrease by 69%.

“But there are indications that Trojans are injected into third-party ad modules and new Trojans are being discovered —proof that cybercriminals have become creative and sophisticated in their approach.”

Ms. Gan described the Philippines’ cybersecurity readiness as “intermediate.”

“Intermediate-level countries are those that have identified cyberattacks as areas they need to look into and have attempted to make some inroads. The goal is to have the country move to the Advanced stage where we hope to see it doing more in terms of development,” she said.

The country’s cybersecurity landscape is interconnected with its regional neighbors, she stressed.

The government and the private sector, Ms. Gan said, should continuously promote security awareness and digital education for more than 76 million internet users.

The Philippines should also grow its pool of cybersecurity talents.

“Cyber threats are here to stay as it is parallel with the digitalization drive in the Philippines. A latest study even projected a P5-trillion digital economy in 2030, a huge opportunity that will be realized best if digitalization efforts are built upon trusted and transparent cybersecurity foundations,” said Yeo Siang Tiong, general manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky.

“Organizations, industries, and governments will always be lucrative targets for cybercriminals but through collaborative multi-stakeholder efforts, we can explore strategies and expand our cybersecurity implementation as we enhance our confidence and trust in technology. When a country achieves cyber-resiliency, the digital future no longer becomes a scary unknown realm but a place with endless opportunities for growth,” he added.