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APAC is now the most dangerous cyber threat region in the world

26 Sep 2017

The Asia Pacific region is not only a hotspot for ransomware and malware threats, but also for people who mistakenly download malicious mobile applications, according to Trend Micro’s 2017 Midyear Security Roundup: The Cost of Compromise report.

Out of 82 million ransomware threats around the world, APAC accounted for 35.7%. EMEA accounted for 25% while Latin America accounted for 23% and North America with 16%.

436 million malware detections were also observed in Asia Pacific, of which DocDrop, DOWNAD and WannaCry were the top three. Japan, Australia and Taiwan were the most targeted APAC locations.

Online banking malware was also most spotted in APAC: 118,193 malware types were discovered and blocked – four times more than EMEA and five times more than North America.

Asia Pacific mobile users were also most prone to downloading malicious mobile apps – more than 47 million of them. The region surpassed EMEA (30 million), North America (8 million) and Latin America (6 million).

“APAC was targeted by threats and cyber attacks disproportionately in the first half of the year. Companies in the region need to better understand cyberattacks and prioritise funds accordingly for effective security," comments Trend Micro’s managing director Asia Pacific, Dhanya Thakkar.

“Based on the insights we gather, our team has been continually constructing a comprehensive threat intelligence database and innovating new products that can respond to the growing threats. That’s why we have started incorporating machine learning-based smart detection technology into all our solutions and gleaned good results.”

While general malware and ransomware are plaguing Asia Pacific, the risks against industrial systems are also increasing.

Trend Micro says the number of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) vulnerabilities are fodder for malware attacks specifically designed to target these systems, according to the company’s Zero Day Initiative Program.

Exploit kits, tools that help threat actors conduct attacks, are also prevalent in Asia Pacific. 556,542 kits were detected in six months, more than quadruple than what North America faced (120,470).

The most popular exploit kits in Asia Pacific are Rig, Magnitude, Sundown and Nebula. Most exploit kits go after software such as Adobe Flash, Java and Microsoft Silverlight.

WannaCry and NotPetya featured in the report, with Trend Micro stating that they reinforce the need for consistent patching for enterprises across industries.

Other ransomware families included new variants of the Cerber ransomware which now has anti-machine learning tools, Patcher, a ransomware that went after MacOS and mobile ransomware SLocker.

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