by HARIZAH KAMEL
THREE years after the WannaCry ransomware wreaked havoc around the globe, data from Kaspersky for Southeast Asia (SEA) proves that the threat is still present particularly against small and medium businesses (SMBs) in the region.
A total of 269,204 ransomware attempts were foiled by the global cybersecurity company’s solutions for businesses of between 20 and 250 employees in the region for the first quarter of 2020 (1Q20).
This is based on the detection verdicts of Kaspersky products received from users who consented to provide statistical data.
Kaspersky GM for Southeast Asia Yeo Siang Tiong said they have observed a significant decline in ransomware attacks against SMBs in SEA.
“The first quarter’s numbers are 69% lower compared with the same period in 2019, which is definitely a good sign. However, companies should never be complacent.
“Cybercriminals may show less activity, but their precision has undoubtedly been improved and our telemetry showed that they are more focused on targeting businesses and organisations now,” he said in a recent statement.
According to Kaspersky, 1Q20 statistics showed all SEA countries logged a decrease in ransomware detected compared with the same period last year.
However, globally, one-in-three of ransomware blocked by Kaspersky in 2019 was targeted towards corporate users, indicating that cybercriminals are increasingly targeting businesses and enterprises as opposed to individual users.
Indonesia remains among the top 10 countries where SMB users were almost infected with the threat at seventh place with 131,944 detections, while the top five nations with the most attempts in 1Q20 are Russia, Brazil, China, Bangladesh, and Egypt.
Other SEA countries placed high on the list include Vietnam and Thailand at 14th and 16th places with 77,937 and 47,014 detections respectively, while Malaysia ranked 35th with 4,953 detections.
“The current pandemic situation which has forced employees to work remotely, however, has blurred the line between enterprise and personal security, therefore increasing the surface of attack that cybercriminals can exploit.
“To ease the financial strain on this sector, we are offering SMBs in the region our solution and services for free to help them seal their confidential data and assets against this costly threat,” added Yeo.
The global cybersecurity company has launched a free online course between 20 and 30 minutes to zero in on how companies can secure their current remote working environment.
The course is accessible at https://go.kaspersky.com/stay_
Kaspersky is also offering small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in SEA free Kaspersky Security licenses for six months.
It is an advanced, all-in-one threat protection for Microsoft Office 365’s communication and collaboration services.
It curbs the spread of malicious threats including ransomware, viruses, Trojans, and phishing, among others.
As ransomware is a threat which businesses should not overlook, Kaspersky shares some simple tricks on how to fend it off through its online course.
“Equip your employees with high-level awareness in terms of social engineering tricks. It is advisable to employ a training which features level-by-level learning such as the Kaspersky Automated Security Awareness Training,” it said.
It urged users to always update their operating system to eliminate recent vulnerabilities and use a robust security solution with updated databases.
“Use a security solution which has specialised technologies to protect your data from ransomware such as Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business.
“Corporate-grade endpoint security suites also have a patch management and exploit prevention capabilities that would be helpful against these threats,” it said.
Users must always have fresh back-up copies of files to replace them in case they are lost due to malware or a broken device and store them not only on the physical object but also in cloud storage for greater reliability.
It also reminded users to report ransomware to their local law enforcement agency and try to find a decryptor on the internet first – some of them are available for free at https://noransom.kaspersky.com
“Businesses can also enhance their preferred third-party security solution with the free Kaspersky Anti-Ransomware Tool,” it concluded.