The Philippines dropped from number 38 in 2019 to number 50 last year in the list of Southeast Asian (SEA) countries whose Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs) were targeted by cryptominers.
But it’s no reason to be complacent, warned Kaspersky, in its latest report.
The global cybersecurity firm blocked almost 9 million cryptominer attacks in the region in 2020, from 13.25 million the year before.
Still, cryptomining attacks accounted for more than phishing and ransomware combined.
Detected phishing attempts stood at 2,890,825 while ransomware attempts totalled 804,513 last year.
Indonesia and Vietnam accounted for almost 71% in 2020 and 80% in 2019 of all attempted incidents in SEA.
In the Philippines, cryptominers’ attacks on SMBs declined from 453,506 to 230,092 in the comparative period.
Nevertheless, business owners should not to keep their guards down, Kaspersky maintained.
Cybercriminals use malicious cryptocurrency malware in cryptomining so they can hijack hardware they don’t own, such as smartphones, computers, tablets, and servers.
Then, they harness the processing power of these devices to mine for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
A business owner whose staff works remotely because of the pandemic may find his office power bill unusually high because cryptominers are using his business resources, at his expense.
“We have seen a decrease in miner attacks around the world and the same trend applies to SEA, too,” conceded Evgeny Lopatin, Kaspersky Malware Analyst Team Lead.
However, “The main factor behind the decreasing number of attacks is the cost of cryptocurrencies which has been declining over the past three years and only recently began to rise sharply in price again.”
Problem is, “SMBs normally have a relaxed attitude towards information security and so the main damage from cryptomining is expected to be felt by this sector,” stressed Yeo Siang Tiong, General Manager for Southeast Asia.
“Cryptocurrencies continue to attract investor and user attention due to the continued spike in its prices so we really caution SMBs not to underestimate the possibility that cryptomining will remain to be a serious cyberthreat,” he explained.
“After all, cybercriminals have long realized that infecting servers is more profitable than mining on home users’ computers so SMBs should take this silent threat seriously,” according to the GM.
Unlike ransomware attacks, which tend to be more frightening and require to be dealt with quickly, cryptominers flourish the longer they are hidden and use this stealth in the long-term to profit from the exploit.
Some tell-tale signs that personal devices are being used illegally by cryptominers include system response slowing down due to the workload strain, increase in power consumption that result in batteries depleting at a faster pace or electricity bills skyrocketing, and a more significant data usage.
To ensure the safety of their assets and devices, businesses should keep their operating systems and software fresh and regularly updated.
Avoid clicking email links and attachments from unverified and untrusted sources.
Practice caution when installing software from the web since cryptominers are known to embed malware in them.
Use security solutions and carry out regular security audits of the corporate network.
SMBs can’t overlook less-obvious targets, such as queue-management systems, POS terminals, and vending machines.
Once infected, an army of those devices can bring much profit to criminals.
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