Gov’t urged to develop cyber-resiliency vs constantly evolving cyber threats

July 9, 2022 - 10:49 AM
A man types on a computer keyboard in this illustration picture February 28, 2013. (Reuters/Kacper Pempel/Illustration/)

The Philippines must adopt a more proactive approach in prioritizing cybersecurity to combat constantly evolving cyber threats, according to a digital privacy company.

Although policies and regulatory frameworks for cybersecurity have already been established, Kaspersky advised the local government to engage with its neighbors and private firms to strengthen its cyber-resilience.

“[We] encourage the government regulators to begin boosting its cyber capacity-building and cooperation efforts. These two are the building blocks of cybersecurity,” said Genie Gan, Kaspersky’s head of Public Affairs and Government Relations for the Asia Pacific and the Middle East said at a forum in Makati City on Wednesday, July 6.

The photo shows Kaspersky’s Southeast Asian general manager, Yeo Siang Tiong, and Genie Gan, head of Public Affairs and Government Relations for Asia Pacific & Middle East, entertaining questions from the media during a cyber-resiliency forum on July 6, 2022, Makati City. (Leira Aquino/Interaksyon)

Rising cyberattacks in Philippines

Web threat attempts against Filipino users of the cybersecurity firm’s software increased 432.75% from 9,487,775 in 2017 to 50,544,908 in 2021, according to the data from its security network.

The Philippines also moved up from the 30th spot to fourth place in just a span of five years in Kaspersky’s global ranking of most attacked countries. 

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) attacks on local businesses increased by 141% from 2,549,698 in 2019 to 6,150,891 in 2021 as a result of the pandemic-induced shift toward remote working.

RDP enables computers running Windows on the same network to be linked together and accessed remotely, even when employees are at home.

READ: Philippines sees rise in cyberattacks targeting home-based employees’ device, says cybersecurity firm

On the other hand, mobile malware attacks significantly dropped in the country by 69% from 110,128 in 2019 to 34,010 in 2021.  

However, Kaspersky highlighted that there are indications that Trojans are being injected into third-party ad modules, and that new Trojans are being discovered—proof that cybercriminals’ techniques have gotten more creative and sophisticated.

A Trojan is a form of computer virus that is disguised as regular software such as utilities, games, and even antivirus programs.

READ: Mobile malware attacks in Philippines dropped but more sophisticated, says cybersecurity firm

Actions needed to build a cyber-resilient Philippines

In order to improve the Philippines’ cyber-resiliency, Gan suggested the following concrete steps: 

  • Continuous promotion of security awareness and digital education for its more than 76 million users
  • Growing its pool of cybersecurity talents
  • Public-private partnerships
  • Regional and international cooperation between countries and industries

Enhanced collaboration among citizens

The cybersecurity firm suggested that nations like the Philippines should constantly push skills training to encourage better collaboration and bolster incident response capabilities.

“Organizations, industries, and governments will always be lucrative targets of cybercriminals,” said Yeo Siang Tiong, Kaspersky’s Southeast Asia manager.

But Tiong emphasized that citizens can still enhance their trust in technology through “collaborative stakeholders efforts in exploring new strategies and expanding cybersecurity implementation.”

Gan also highlighted that “everyone [should] play a part” in achieving this.

Kaspersky’s technologies reportedly protect 400 million online users against digital threats.