One in three Filipinos hit by cyberthreats hidden in ‘thumb drives’

MANILA: One in three Filipinos dealt with cyberattacks launched via thumb drives and other removable devices in the past year, global cybersecurity firm Kaspersky reported on Monday (Feb 19) as it stressed that digital threats also thrive in offline space.

In a statement, the company reminded Filipinos to be careful when plugging their flash drives into computers to avoid falling victim to local threats.

The local threat is malicious software spread via removable devices like flash drives, CDs (compact discs), and DVDs (digital versatile discs). Kaspersky explained that bad actors attempt to infiltrate such devices to obtain sensitive information.

According to Kaspersky Security Network’s recent report, 36.8 per cent of users in the Philippines were attacked by digital threats last year.

This made the country the third most vulnerable to such cyberattacks in South-East Asia and 76th worldwide.

In the region, Vietnam and Indonesia led the list with 53.3 per cent and 41.1 per cent, respectively. Turkmenistan (67.4 per cent) and Afghanistan (64.6 per cent) received the most local threat attacks globally last year.

“Over time, [thumb drives have] become smaller in size, yet [their] capacity [has] tremendously increased that we can now store large files like videos and multiple copies of them on a single drive,” said Yeo Siang Tiong, general manager for South-East Asia at Kaspersky.

“But [flash drives] are a boon to everyone who uses them, cybercriminals included, and a bane for those unaware that such offline hardware could cause a catastrophe,” he added.

As such, Kaspersky stressed the need to have antivirus software preventing any malicious software from an infected flash drive going into a computer system.

It also advised the public to use different flash drives for business and personal use.

“We need to understand that cyberattacks don’t come solely from the internet,” Yeo said.

While the threat of flash drive-driven cyber incidents looms, a recent survey commissioned by cybersecurity firm Fortinet and conducted by International Data Corp revealed that phishing is among the top cyber threats in the country, with over 50 per cent of the respondents citing it. The study surveyed 550 information technology leaders across the Asia-Pacific region.

Phishing is a fraudulent activity in which hackers trick users into providing their personal information, allowing them to take over one’s bank or e-wallet account. - Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN

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Philippines , hackers , cyberthreat , thumb , drives


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