Microsoft telemetry shows increase in malware, ransomware encounter rates in Sri Lanka | Sunday Observer

Microsoft telemetry shows increase in malware, ransomware encounter rates in Sri Lanka

27 June, 2021

The cybersecurity landscape has fundamentally changed due to large-scale, complex attacks in recent times. Hackers launch an average of 50 million password attacks every day — 579 per second, and phishing attacks have increased. Firmware attacks are on the rise, and ransomware has become incredibly problematic. Microsoft had intercepted and thwarted a record-breaking 30 billion email threats last year and is actively tracking over 40 active nation-state actors and over 140 threat groups representing 20 countries.

According to Microsoft Defender Antivirus’ telemetry, malware encounter rates in Asia Pacific have increased – 12% in Sri Lanka; 23% in Australia; 80% in China; 15% in India; 16% in Japan; 19% in New Zealand; and 43% in Singapore over the past 18 months, spanning pre-pandemic to now. As a subset of malware, ransomware encounters have also increased 74% in Sri Lanka; 453% in Australia; 463% in China; 100% in India; 541% in Japan; 825% in New Zealand; and 296% in Singapore over the same period. 

Assistant General Counsel, Regional Lead, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit Asia, Mary Jo Schrade said, “Most of our region has transitioned to remote working over the past year. As we continue the need to work from home either full time or part time, we need to adopt more tools and build our defenses against potential cyberattacks. In Asia, adopting multi-factor authentication together with a zero trust approach are the foundations to safer work from home or hybrid work scenarios.”

Small-and-medium businesses (SMBs) are particularly vulnerable to cybersecurity threats – in Asia Pacific, SMBs make up more than 98% of enterprise and employ 50% of the workforce, comprising an integral part of the region’s social and economic well-being. However, a large percentage of SMBs do not know how to protect their companies, lack dedicated IT staff and have inadequate computer and network security.

Advisor, Intelligent Business Research Services (IBRS), Joe Sweeney said, “Highly automated social attacks (phishing) are on the rise. They are coming through email, instant messaging, social media and texts. It is critical for organisations to take on a Zero Trust approach to address this, by segmenting all aspects of the end user environment and treating each as untrusted.  This requires a very different thinking from the traditional ‘network as the border’ and ‘protect the device’ approach. It requires a data-centric and authentication-centric approach. While there are other security considerations, getting identity, authentication and information management sorted is essential.”