THE NUMBER of new malicious files that internet security firm Kaspersky collects daily rose to 400,000 during the coronavirus pandemic, its chief executive officer Eugene Kaspersky said on Tuesday.
“Before COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019), we had just more than 300,000 new malicious applications a day. Right now, we collect more than 400,000 a day,” Mr. Kaspersky said at the Asia-Pacific Online Policy Forum.
He said cybersecurity has become a more important issue during the pandemic as more people are staying at home and more enterprises are allowing their employees to work remotely.
David Koh, chief executive officer of the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, said the pandemic demands governments, industries and individuals to fundamentally change the way they do things overnight.
“Literally, overnight, we have to change,” he said.
“What this means is that we have to employ new technologies overnight, and these technologies are a lot less secure than the ones we used to have. The amounts of controls we have (over our personal information) have changed, literally overnight,” he added.
Consequently, the way cybercriminals behave has also changed.
“They are now focused on using the COVID-19 pandemic information as tools for scams, phishing, ransomware attacks…. Now that we are more interested in the vaccine, it’s also something that’s of high interest to them,” Mr. Koh said.
In its latest survey in Southeast Asia, Kaspersky found that 82% of online users in the region believe their digital lifestyle is safe for the privacy of their data.
The global security firm said the number is 7% higher than the global average of 75%.
The company conducted its survey in May, covering 760 respondents in Southeast Asia.
“Despite the high confidence in the region, survey respondents also admitted to being hacked online. Users acknowledged that their social media accounts (21%), their e-mail accounts (20%), their mobile devices (13%), their Wi-Fi networks (12%), and their banking accounts (12%) have been hacked,” the report noted.
“There’s another 2% who even confirmed their accounts have been compromised more than three or four times, while 24% are certain that their data had never been leaked. Almost 2-in-10 of the respondents also confessed they are not sure if their accounts were compromised ever as they do not know how to check (18%) while another 14% revealed they have never checked at all,” it added.
Yeo Siang Tiong, Kaspersky general manager for Southeast Asia, noted people’s devices are now extension of offices, banks and shopping malls, so there is a “need to look into how we keep our accounts and devices locked safely to keep our digital lives and assets away from the hands of cybercriminals.” — Arjay L. Balinbin