Intelligent CIO APAC Issue 01 | Page 32

EDITOR’S QUESTION WHAT ARE THE MAJOR CYBERTHREATS TO THE APAC REGION? Microsoft has unveiled Asia Pacific findings from the latest edition of its Security Endpoint Threat Report 2019, annual research aimed at identifying cyberthreats and building cyber-resilience across the region. Findings were derived from an analysis of diverse Microsoft data sources, including eight trillion threat signals received and analyzed by Microsoft every day, covering a 12-month period, from January to December 2019. The research revealed significant differences in the exposure to cyberthreats between developed and developing countries, with developing countries continuing to remain vulnerable to threats despite the overall decrease in encounter rates across the region. “As security defenses evolve and attackers rely on new techniques, Microsoft’s unique access to billions of threat signals every day enables us to gather data and insights to inform our response to cyberattacks,” said Mary Jo Schrade, Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, Microsoft Asia. “The Microsoft Security Endpoint Threat Report aims to create a better understanding of the evolving threat landscape and help organizations improve their cybersecurity posture by mitigating the effects of increasingly sophisticated attacks.” Malware and ransomware remain key cybersecurity challenges in developing markets Asia Pacific continued to experience a higher-than-average encounter rate for malware and ransomware attacks – 1.6 and 1.7 times higher respectively than the rest of the world. This is despite a 23% and 29% overall decline across these two threat vectors when compared to the 2018 findings. The research revealed that developing countries, including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Vietnam, were most vulnerable to malware and ransomware threats in 2019. “Often, high malware encounters correlate with both piracy rates and overall cyberhygiene, that includes regular patching and updating of software. Countries that have higher piracy rates and lower cyberhygiene tend to be more severely impacted by cyberthreats. Patching, using legitimate software and keeping it updated can decrease the likelihood of malware and ransomware infections,” said Schrade. The research identified that countries with lower piracy rates and stronger cyberhygiene practices have witnessed a significant decline in attacks. Specifically, malware and “ COUNTRIES THAT HAVE HIGHER PIRACY RATES AND LOWER CYBERHYGIENE TEND TO BE MORE SEVERELY IMPACTED BY CYBERTHREATS. ransomware threat encounter rates in Japan, New Zealand and Australia, were three to six times lower than the regional average. Despite the low threat encounters observed in developed countries, Schrade encouraged all businesses to remain vigilant. “Cybercriminals do not stand still. We are witnessing attackers pivoting away from conventional methods and shifting towards customized campaigns, targeted at specific geographies, industries and businesses. By relying on cloud technology and developing a comprehensive cyber resilience strategy, organizations can effectively bolster their cybersecurity strategies.” 32 INTELLIGENTCIO