India blocked more ransomware and email threats in 2018: Trend Micro report

India blocked more ransomware and email threats in 2018: Trend Micro report
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8 Mar, 2019

In 2018, India blocked 10% of ransomware threats globally, or 30% within the Asia Pacific, Africa and Middle East regions. The country also ranked fourth in the number of email threats blocked, which stood at 1.5 billion, enterprise cybersecurity firm Trend Micro said in its annual Security Roundup for 2018.

The cybersecurity firm identified over 30 million malware threats in India in 2018. There were around 1.8 billion ransomware threats reported globally in the last two calendar years, it added.

The shifting pattern of cyber threats requires businesses to rethink their security priorities so that they are better prepared as both the approach and tactics of attacks are changing, the company said in a media statement.

The Los Angeles-based company warned businesses to be aware of the risk posed by the rapid growth of cryptocurrency mining, which grew at 237% last year. The threat from crypto mining has also been pointed out by multiple cybersecurity companies.

The report said that the attacks are capitalising on the human desire to respond to urgent requests from authorities which use techniques such as business email compromise (or BEC) and phishing, with phishing URL detections having increased an incredible 269% compared to 2017.

“The changes across the threat landscape in 2018 reflect a change in cybercriminal’s mindset. Today’s most prevalent attacks are targeted and well planned, as opposed to one-size-fits-all attacks of the past. Knowing this pattern, we are developing products that can outsmart these attack methods,” said Jon Clay, director of global threat communications at Trend Micro.

According to the report, the number of BEC attacks in 2018 increased by 28%. While these attacks were less frequent than phishing attacks, they were more sophisticated and needed more careful planning for cybercriminals. They yield an average of $132,000 per attack.

BEC attacks contain no malware and hence go undetected by traditional security measures and companies need to increase their protection against these attacks. The solutions could be products that can analyse the email writing style of key executives in order to identify whether the email may be fraudulent.

Trend Micro said that a strong indicator of the changing threat landscape can be seen in the types of threats that have declined. It said that ransomware detections decreased by 91% in 2018 as compared to 2017, along with a 45% decrease in new ransomware families.

“This reinforces the shift in attack tactics, as ransomware does not require extensive planning, technical skills or ingenuity due to the large number of resources available for malicious hackers in the cybercriminal underground," the report said.