Kaspersky Cyber Security Weekend 2020 1

Kaspersky underscores the importance of digital reputation during annual conference

With 51% of consumers saying that they won’t buy from a company that figured in a scandal, organizations cannot afford to have their reputation — digital or otherwise — tainted. Kaspersky highlighted the importance of digital hygiene for individuals and companies in its annual Asia Pacific (APAC) Cyber Security Weekend held virtually this year.

Suffering from a data breach is perhaps one of the easiest ways to lose customer confidence. That is why having a formidable cybersecurity solution may not be enough. Social engineering still persists today and employee education is of utmost concern among businesses especially now with work-from-home arrangements wherein data security is at risk.

“Businesses care about digital reputation because it has a direct impact on the company’s revenue,” said Vitaly Kamluk, director of Global Research and Analysis (GReAT) for APAC at Kaspersky.

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The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires organizations to full disclosure of data breaches within a given period. There is no way companies can conceal an attack.

Because of the pandemic, people now converge on social media and the internet, which makes it a fertile playground for cybercriminals. And with the vaccine for COVID-19 just around the corner, criminals can easily exploit it and manipulate the anxieties of people, through phishing emails and even social engineering.

Individual digital reputation also largely depends on the different sites users visit and the mistakes of opening files from unverified sources.

“When you navigate your browser to read news your computer connects to multiple other domains in the background,” Kamluk explained. “Each domain will usually be resolved to one or more IP addresses. An IP address is just sequences of numbers that make little sense to humans but every such sequence has a digital reputation for things like whether this belongs to a computer that participated in involvement in the past, and maybe it was used to conduct a network service attack, or maybe the logged in a compromised legitimate site which directed to another malicious host.”

Dark Web

Users wouldn’t want their information to end up on the dark web where it will be sold and exploited, which may have a negative impact not only in digital life but also in real life.

Kamluk warns that the release of the COVID-19 vaccine gives cybercriminals the opportunity to exploit the most vulnerable (read: unsuspecting) victims and use it for their own gains.

Just this year, cybercriminals have strengthened their tools and strategies with Kaspersky discovering cybercriminals’ using
brute-force attacks on database servers in April 2020 were up 23%; malicious files planted on websites increased by 8% in April; and a sharp increase in network attacks and phishing emails.

“From detecting and analyzing 350,000 unique malware samples a day pre-COVID, we currently see a total of 428,000 new samples per 24-hour window. Add the geopolitical events across APAC, the uptick in e-commerce and e-wallet adoption, the continuous remote work set-up and online learning, and the emotional and psychological stresses of the situation, the 2020 threat landscape seems to favor cybercriminals. However, hope is in our hands as we are the controller of our online activities. Improved vigilance to protect our digital identities and assets is necessary,” Kamluk in the media statement provided.

Reversed pressure

Kamluk shared some things organizations and individuals can do in the event of an attack or data breach.

“If you happen to be a victim of encryption and extortion, you can really just interrupt the process,” he said. “There are technologies from Kaspersky that can do this. You can also recover from the backup. In the end, if you have tried everything already and the criminals started publishing and shaming you, consider a good and honest public response.”

Kamluk advises to just come clean to the public and report the incident to the police immediately.

“That creates kind of a reversed pressure on the criminal gangs and the more of us do this, the more successful this strategy is,” he said.

Kamluk mentioned the shutdown of the makers of Maze ransomware families, which has become one of the most notorious malware families that threatened businesses and large organizations. This could be probably due to their popularity that law enforcements are out to get them. This put pressure on them.

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