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Asia Pacific struck most by cyberthreats in the first half of 2017

Adrian M. Reodique | Sept. 21, 2017
The region has recorded the highest number of cyberthreats across multiple categories from January to June 2017.

Asia Pacific has recorded the highest number of cyberthreats in the first half of 2017
Credit: Storyblocks 

The Asia Pacific (APAC) region has recorded the highest number of cyberthreats across multiple categories in the first half of 2017, according to cybersecurity solutions provider Trend Micro.  

More than 436 million malware infections were detected in APAC from January to June this year, which is higher than that in North America (324 million) and Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) (169 million). Most of the malware infections were found in Japan, Australia, and Taiwan.

Trend Micro also listed the top three malware found in the region. They are:

 

  1. DocDrop: a Trojan brought by other malware to the system or as an automatic downloaded file from malicious sites that users visited.
  2. DOWNAD: a Windows vulnerability which makes use of domain generation algorithm (DGA) to download other malware to the infected computer system.
  3. WannaCry: a ransomware which locks up user's computer or files in exchange for money.  

 

Additionally, APAC encountered the highest number of online banking malware (118,193), most of which were detected in Japan, China, and Vietnam.

According to Trend Micro, "as industrial [internet of things] IoT devices continue to mushroom in APAC, the number of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system vulnerabilities is also increasing, providing fodder for malware attacks."

A study by Aruba Networks in March indicated that nearly nine out of 10 (86 percent) organisations in APAC will have some form of IoT in place by 2019.

 

APAC most targeted by ransomware

Out of 82 million ransomware detected by Trend Micro within the first six months, 35.7 percent or almost 29.3 million were found in APAC.

Ransomware is a subset of malware which locks up the computer systems or files of the vicitms in exchange for a ransom. One example of ransomware is WannaCry, which affected more than 200,000 IT systems in at least 50 countries globally within a day of its launch on 12 May 2017.

Meanwhile, Trend Micro also detected the highest number of exploit kits in APAC with a total of 556,542 followed by North America (120,470). The security company described exploit kits as a type of toolkit that cybercriminals use to exploit vulnerabilities in the system to distribute malware or carry out other malicious activities.

These exploit kits were also found to target popular software such Adobe Flash, Java, and Microsoft Silverlight. "In 2017, connected industrial systems became a popular target for exploit kits too. Some of them can be used to deliver ransomware, such as Rig, Magnitude, and Sundown," said Trend Micro.

 

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