Climbing two notches, the Philippines now lands in fourth place of the countries most targeted by web threats. From January to December 2021, Kaspersky products used in the Philippines detected and foiled more than 50 million web threat attempts, according to statistics from the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN).
Web threats are attacks via browsers. Cybercriminals normally use drive-by downloads and social engineering to try to spread malware to devices of internet users. A drive-by download infection, which is used in most of the attacks, happens when visiting an infected website.
Kaspersky found that 51.2% of users in the Philippines were attacked by web-borne threats. Belarus (54.9%) tops the list followed by Algeria (51.4%) and Kazakhstan (51.3%). Latvia (50.7%) and Ukraine (50.5%) complete the top 5.
From 2017 to 2021, in the malware-detection history of KSN, the cyberthreats detected in the Philippines have gone up sharply by 433%. (KSN is the cloud-based threat intelligence service of cybersecurity company Kaspersky.)
The monitored cyberthreat attempts logged on devices of Kaspersky users in 2017 were 9,487,775 compared to 50,544,988 in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic increased digital adoption both at the enterprise and consumer levels.
“Because of the internet, carrying on with work and school during the pandemic has been significantly possible,” said Yeo Siang Tiong, GM for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky. “The internet has also provided people a temporary escape from real life during lockdowns. This is true not just for Filipinos but for everyone around the world.”
By using drive-by downloads, cybercriminals use file-less malware, the most dangerous way of infecting a device because it’s such a complicated malware that is difficult to detect and counter.
Social engineering is when cybercriminals trick the unsuspecting victim into downloading a malicious file or providing them with personal details such as passwords or bank details.
“We cannot stop using the internet so we really encourage Filipinos to be extra cautious and really get into the habit of practicing cyber-hygiene,” Yeo said. “These basic habits remain the same and include regularly scanning devices for viruses, changing passwords, keeping apps, software, and operating systems up to date, and wiping your hard drive.”
Information on such suspicious and malicious files that attempt to penetrate internet-connected computers with Kaspersky products are sent with permission by device users to KSN. This complex cloud infrastructure collects and analyzes cybersecurity-related data from millions of voluntary users of Kaspersky products around the world.
The threat-related data shared from computers of Philippine-based participants along with data from other Asia Pacific countries are processed in Kaspersky’s two data centers in Zurich, Switzerland.