Group-IB, a cybersecurity company specializing in high-tech crimes and online fraud, has reported that Southeast Asia is the more actively attacked region in the world.
The company hosted their first CyberCrimeCon in Singapore on Monday 12 October. During the conference, they discussed cybercrime trends that are affecting the region. They also predicted that the Lazarus crime group will focus their attacks on Asia and the Pacific.
The 2018 report states that attacks on banks using SWIFT have tripled impacting
Hong Kong, Ukraine, Turkey, Nepal, Taiwan, Russia, Mexico, India, Bulgaria, and Chile.
Many Asian countries have been the target of financial attacks, South Korea has sustained many attacks, Japanese banks were hit with an attack in 2017, and Australia is the number 2 country hit by banking trojans. These factors likely played a role in Group-IB moving their Headquarters to Singapore.
For Australia, this trend is particularly worrying because although they are the target of continuous attacks, security companies fail to gain traction in the country.
The reasons behind why Asia and in particular Southeast Asia have become targets for cyber attacks is nuanced. To begin with, countries in this region tend to have more relaxed controls than is required in the EU and US when it comes to data protection and baking. There is also a low awareness of internet security and cyber attacks in these countries. This may be because internet culture is relatively new to populations as a whole. Another reason that makes Asia so attractive to attack is that 60% of the world’s population is housed there. This gives a huge victim base for attacks to exploit to their advantage.
Adding to this, in the US and Europe companies are required to disclose information about data leaks and breaches. This means victims can seek to secure their identity and take necessary steps to mitigate the damage. Laws around data breach disclosure vary between Asian countries and it isn’t a requirement in all countries, leaving many people unknowing and vulnerable once their information has been compromised.