Global cybersecurity company Kaspersky yesterday unmasks the continued phishing campaigns against small and medium businesses (SMBs) in Southeast Asia (SEA).
Despite this segment bearing the brunt of the still on-going pandemic, Kaspersky’s Anti-Phishing Technology has blocked a total of 2,890,825 attempts aimed at SMBs in the region last year, a 20% increase compared with 2,402,569 attempts to visit fraudulent URLs detected in 2019.
Phishing is a form of cybercrime based on social engineering techniques that involve stealing confidential data from a person’s computer and subsequently using the data for other purposes from stealing the target’s money to reselling their data.
Phishing messages usually take the form of fake notifications from banks, providers, e-pay systems and other organisations, phishing also can take the form of an almost 100% perfect replica of a trusted website, to which the victim would be lured through phishing messages to later leave their data.
In terms of per country cases of phishing targeting companies with 50-250 employees, Indonesia registered the most incidents in 2020, followed by Thailand, and Vietnam. Each of them logged over half a million attempts. Malaysian, Filipino, and Singaporean SMBs were not spared, with these nations charting a combined 795,052 attempts to visit phishing websites from January to December last year.
SMBs in all six countries in the region have also witnessed an increased phishing attempts foiled by Kaspersky Year-on-Year (YOY), the expected aftermath of the segment’s urgent drive to digitalise amidst the pandemic.
Last year’s top 10 countries in terms of phishing attempts against SMBs are Brazil, Russia, the USA, France, Italy, Mexico, Germany, Colombia, Spain, and India.
On a worldwide scale, online phishers exploited the COVID-19 theme, invited victims to non-existent video conferences and insisted that their targets register with “new corporate services”.
Given that the fight against the pandemic is not over yet, Kaspersky predicts that the main trends of 2020 will stay relevant into the near future.
An important trend which businesses in SEA, a region famous for being highly active on social media, should note is the phishing links and emails being shared via online networking platforms. Kaspersky experts have observed that scammers who were spreading their chain mail via social networks and instant messaging applications began to favor the latter in 2020.
Message recipients were promised a discount or prize if they opened a link sent to them. The phishing web page contained a tempting message about a money prize, award or other, equally desirable, surprises.
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