The age of ransomware

  • TECH
  • Tuesday, 06 Sep 2016

Malaysia under cyber attack media briefing from Kaspersky.

Malaysia has the dubious distinction of being number 25 on the list of countries that is the source of the most web infections, according to global security firm Kaspersky Lab.

For the period between June to Aug this year 283,779 web infections were traced back to Malaysia, accounting for 0.21% of the global total, said Kaspersky lab director for the Asia Pacific research team, Vitaly Kamluk.

The United States, Russia and Germany made the top three spots, accounting for 32.02%, 11.09% and 10.18% of the global total, respectively.

Malaysian is also a popular target for cybercriminals, ranking 51st in the world for web borne malware attacks.

Kamluk said that cyberthreats have increased due to the rise in mobile adoption.

“Targeted attacks in the region are now becoming more mature compared to the past” said Kamluk.

“And the worst cybersecurity nightmare today is ransomware which is largely operated by foreign organised criminal groups. The financial sector remains the prime target.”

Ransomware used to be simpler to combat –  attackers merely blocked access to a user’s operating system or browser for a moderate amount of ransom money.

However, after security experts caught up with the threat with improved protective measures, cyber criminals got smarter.

They now encrypt files on victims’ hard drives with crypto ransomware.

“Victims especially businesses have no choice but to pay huge ransoms due to the strong encryption used,” he said.

To make things worse, digital currency has made this cyber criminal activity easier as payments are more difficult to trace.

The increase in attacks is due to the fact that there are a large number of ransomware tools  available on the dark web.

Such tools are now easily accessible to even beginners for as low as US$5,000 (RM20,000) for a starter kit.

Hackers are able to generate up to US$25,000 (RM102,000) per day with these tools, according to Kamluk.

“By distributing these crypto ransomware tools online, the number of beginners-turned-skilled-hackers can easily multiply into tens of thousands leading to more cyberattacks happening daily,” he said.

Kamluk was in town to launch the company’s latest solutions, namely the Kaspersky Security Intelligence Services and Anti Targeted Attack Platform aimed at providing better protection for enterprises.

Unlike conventional anti-virus, which is reactive in nature, the Security Intelligence Service works proactively.

The solution covers three main areas. First is the penetration testing and application security assessment, which allows corporate clients to predict a cyberattack before it happens.

Secondly, it includes cybersecurity training such as workforce awareness programmes, digital forensics, malware analysis and reverse engineering.

Lastly, the solution also comes with threat-data feed and botnet tracking, as well as intelligence reporting, to handle sophisticated threats.

The other Kaspersky solution – the Anti Targeted Attack Platform allows monitoring of network activity, web and e-mail accounts to prevent malicious and targeted attacks.

The key feature of the product is the Advanced Sandbox, which provides a virtualised environment for analysing suspicious programs.

For more details, visit

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