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Attacks surge in 1H 2021; Trend Micro blocks 41B cyber threats

Ransomware remained the standout threat in the first half of the year as cybercriminals continued to target big-name victims and used Advanced Persistent Threat tools and techniques to steal and encrypt victims’ data.

Photo by Aryan Dhiman from Unsplash.com

Global cybersecurity leader Trend Micro Incorporated announced in early September that it blocked 40.9 billion email threats, malicious files, and malicious URLs for customers in the first half of 2021, a 47% year-on-year increase.

Ransomware remained the standout threat in the first half of the year as cybercriminals continued to target big-name victims and used Advanced Persistent Threat tools and techniques to steal and encrypt victims’ data.

Ransomware was a major threat to global organizations in the first half of 2021, but it was not the only one. Trend Micro’s report also reveals:

  • Business email compromise (BEC) attacks increased by 4%, potentially as a result of new COVID-19 opportunities for threat actors. The Philippines ranked fourth among Southeast Asian countries that encountered BEC threats at 8.4%, with Singapore ranking first at 55.8%.
  • Cryptocurrency miners became the most detected malware, having surged ahead of WannaCry and web shells in recent months.
  • The Zero Day Initiative reported 770 vulnerabilities, a slight (2%) drop from 1H 2020.
  • A total of 164 malicious apps related to COVID-19 scams were detected, 54% of which impersonated TikTok.
  • Healthcare is the top industry affected by ransomware in the Philippines, followed by food and beverage, then banking.

According to a report by Hootsuite, the Philippines ranks the highest in internet and social media usage in the world. A Pew Research study conducted in 2020 also revealed that 60% of Filipinos own a smartphone. Given this, Filipinos are more likely to be exposed to malicious links and Android malware, especially if not equipped with proper internet security knowledge. The Philippines ranked first among Southeast Asian countries and third globally after the US and Japan in terms of users accessing malicious URLs, and second among Southeast Asian countries in terms of Android malware detected. 

“Mitigating cyber risk effectively necessitates the thorough understanding of the scale, complexity, and specific characteristics of the threat landscape.” said Alma Alvarez, Trend Micro Threat Hunting Director.” “Alongside the comprehensive protection Trend Micro provides against fast-evolving threats and our biannual roundup reports, our annual cyber security conference DECODE brings together industry professionals and presents the latest in local cybersecurity to empower and inform the continuous transformation of organizations’ digital infrastructures.”

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The report’s overall findings highlight the effectiveness of – and increasing need for – a holistic and scalable cybersecurity solution at the enterprise level. As threats continue to increase in frequency and sophistication, enterprise SOC teams will require a platform that can streamline security processes without sacrificing reliability.

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