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TECHNOLOGY

Every 2 in 3 Southeast Asia businesses are ransomware victims, Kaspersky study finds 

August 16, 2022 5:39 p.m.

Ever since the infamous Wannacry attack, ransomware has become something of a buzzword within the corporate world, with large attacks on enterprises appearing in headlines month after month.

Businesses in Southeast Asia (SEA) are well within the radar of these cybercriminals with three in five (67%) confirming that they have been victims, according to the latest research by Kaspersky.

Global cybersecurity company, Kaspersky, surveyed 900 respondents across North America, South America, Africa, Russia, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, 100 of which were from SEA. Conducted in April 2022, the research titled “How business executives perceive ransomware threat” gathered the answers from those in senior non-IT management (such as CEOs, VP, and Director level) and business owners or partners at companies with 50-1000 employees.

Half of those (34%) who have admitted having their data maliciously encrypted by cybercriminals experienced ransomware attacks not once but several times. The remaining respondents (33%) said they have experienced such incidents one-time only.

 The most common denominator among ransomware victims in the region is that almost all paid the ransom (82.1%). In fact, 47.8% of the surveyed executives confessed that they paid the ransom as soon as possible for immediate access to their business data, two digits higher than the global average of 38.1%.

Almost a quarter (23.9%) did try to get their data back through back-ups or decryption but failed and paid ransom within two days while 10.4% took a week of effort before paying up.

 When the ransomware victims were asked of the steps they will conduct should they face the same incident, majority (77%) of the business leaders in SEA confirmed that they will still pay the ransom showing a worrying tendency for companies that have already been a victim of ransomware to pay up, encouraging cybercriminals to continue their attacks.

“It is concerning to see that only 17.9% of businesses here in SEA victimized by ransomware did not budge on the cybercriminals’ demands. We stand firm that paying the ransom should not be a knee jerk reaction for enterprises. But, with more than half (67%) of those we surveyed admitting that their organizations would not survive without business data if attacked, we understand the urgency and the desperation to get their data back as soon as possible, by all means,” comments Yeo Siang Tiong, General Manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky. 

Kaspersky’s study also revealed a key puzzle piece – that the majority (94%) of enterprises in SEA will seek external help if attacked by ransomware. This is a tad higher than the global rate at 89.9%.

Almost a quarter (20%) of which will contact the law enforcement, while 29% will reach out to a third party cybersecurity incident investigation and response service provider like Kaspersky. The remaining percent will contact both of these external organizations to know how to respond to a ransomware attack.

“With only 5% of enterprise leaders confirming that they have internal incident response capabilities or they have the regular IT team or service provider to figure out a ransomware attack, it is clear that our enterprises here in SEA need help. We advocate for cross-border and public-and-private cooperation that will help governments and companies to combat threats like ransomware. However, such is not the only answer. Enterprises here should really look into acting on concrete steps to upskill or even to build their own security defense team with intelligence-led incident detection and response capabilities,” adds Yeo.

Global cybersecurity company Kaspersky co-founded the global project called “No More Ransom Initiative” which has grown from four partners to 188 and has contributed 136 decryption tools covering 165 ransomware families.

Since its launch in 2016, it has helped more than 1.5 million people decrypt their devices all over the world. Nearly 30,000 ransomware victims from July last year to June end of 2022 in SEA were also able to retrieve their data through this project.

The project is done by Kaspersky along with the National High Tech Crime Unit of the Dutch National Police, Europol’s European Cybercrime Center, and other partners.

Kaspersky, however, puts emphasis on preventing a ransomware attack. The global cybersecurity company encourages businesses to follow these simple and effective recommendations to help protect their organizations against this threat:

  • Always keep up-to-date copies of your files so you can replace them in case they are lost (e.g. due to malware or a broken device). These should be stored not only on a physical device but also in cloud storage for greater reliability. Make sure you can quickly access your backups in the event of an emergency.
  • Install all security updates as soon as they become available. Always update your operating system and software to eliminate recent vulnerabilities.
  • Provide security education to your staff. Explain that by following simple rules, employees can help prevent ransomware incidents. Check out dedicated training courses, such as the ones provided in the Kaspersky Automated Security Awareness Platform.
  • Enable ransomware protection for all endpoints. There is a free Kaspersky Anti-Ransomware Tool for Business that shields computers and servers from ransomware and other types of malware, prevents exploits and is compatible with already installed security solutions.
  • Enterprise companies are recommended to use anti-APT and EDR solutions, enabling capabilities for advanced threat discovery and detection, investigation and timely remediation of incidents, as well as to have access to the latest threat intelligence. An MDR provider could help to effectively hunt any advanced ransomware attack. All of the above is available within Kaspersky Expert Security.

If you become a victim, never pay the ransom. It won’t guarantee you get your data back but will encourage criminals to continue their business. Instead, report the incident to your local law enforcement agency and get help from incident response experts such as Kaspersky.

Companies can also try to find a decryptor on the internet – some of these are available at https://www.nomoreransom.org/en/index.html

TECHNOLOGY

Kaspersky reports more than 340, 000 attacks with new malicious WhatsApp mod

November 20, 2023 8:52 p.m.

Kaspersky researchers recently uncovered a new malicious WhatsApp spy mod, which is now proliferating within another popular messenger, Telegram.

While the modification serves its intended purpose by extending user experience, it also clandestinely harvests personal information from its victims. With an extensive reach surpassing 340,000 in just one month, this malware predominantly targets users who communicate in Arabic and Azeri, though victims have been identified globally.

Users often turn to third-party mods for popular messaging apps to add extra features. However, some of these mods, while enhancing functionality, also come with hidden malware. Kaspersky has identified a new WhatsApp mod offering not only additions like scheduled messages and customizable options, but it also contains a malicious spyware module.

The modified WhatsApp client’s manifest file includes suspicious components (a service and a broadcast receiver) not present in the original version. The receiver initiates a service, launching the spy module when the phone is powered on or charging. Once activated, the malicious implant sends a request with device information to the attacker’s server. This data covers IMEI, phone number, country and network codes, and more. It also transmits the victim’s contacts and account details every five minutes as well as being able to set up microphone recordings and exfiltrate files from external storage.

The malicious version found its way through popular Telegram channels, predominantly targeting Arabic and Azeri speakers, with some of these channels boasting nearly two million subscribers. Kaspersky researchers alerted Telegram about the issue. Kaspersky’s telemetry identified over 340,000 attacks involving this mod in just October. This threat emerged relatively recently, becoming active in mid-August 2023.


Examples of Telegram channels distributing malicious mods

Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Turkey, and Egypt witnessed the highest attack rates. While the preference leans towards Arabic and Azerbaijani-speaking users, it also impacts individuals from the US, Russia, UK, Germany and beyond. 

Kaspersky products detect the Trojan with the following verdict Trojan-Spy.AndroidOS.CanesSpy.

“People naturally trust apps from highly followed sources, but fraudsters exploit this trust. The spread of malicious mods through popular third-party platforms highlights the importance of using official IM clients. However, if you need some extra features not presented in the original client, you should consider employing a reputable security solution before installing third-party software, as it will protect your data from being compromised. For robust personal data protection, always download apps from official app stores or official websites,” comments Dmitry Kalinin, security expert at Kaspersky.

To stay safe, Kaspersky experts recommend: 

  • Use Official Marketplaces: Download apps and software from reputable and official sources. Avoid third-party app stores, as the risk that may host malicious or compromised apps is higher.
  • Use reputable security software: Install and maintain reputable antivirus and anti-malware software on your devices. Regularly scan your devices for potential threats and keep your security software up to date. Kaspersky Premium protects its users from known and unknown threats. 
  • Educate yourself about common scams: Stay informed about the latest cyber threats, techniques, and tactics. Be cautious of unsolicited requests, suspicious offers, or urgent demands for personal or financial information. 
  • Third-party software from popular sources often comes with zero warranty. Keep in mind that such apps can contain malicious implants, e. g. because of supply chain attacks.
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TECHNOLOGY

Globe’s next-gen leaders delve into AI and humanity at International Design Conference

October 27, 2023 3:45 p.m.

Globe’s next generation leaders shared invaluable insights on the blend of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the human experience at the 7th International Design Conference, an event that marked the 50th anniversary of the Design Center of the Philippines.

Returning with more disruptive design concepts and an immersive environment that encouraged attendees to rethink limits, the two-day conference, held in cooperation with Globe, unveiled the evolving landscape and transformative potential of design.

Design luminaries and game-changers from the design sector and the Philippine creative economy collaborated to captivate audiences with immersive keynote presentations, provocative fireside chats, inspiring case studies, future-focused visioning, and an industry meet-up.

Globe’s Wil Sarmiento, Director and Head of Customer Lifecycle, and Paolo Toledo, Director and Head of Creatives, stood out with their forward-thinking perspectives.  They joined world-renowned personalities such as award-winning design critic and author Alice Rawsthorn, program director of the Danish Design Centre Christina Melander; Sarah ichioka, founding director of Desire Lines; Dr. Anna Whicher, Policy Consultant of the “Making Design Count: The Value and Impact of Design on the Philippine Economy”; and Professor Daniela Bohlinger, Sustainability Design Pioneer.

Sarmiento, delivered a keynote that delved into the future skills in the age of human-machine collaboration, underscoring the potential of a symbiotic relationship that harnesses the strengths of both.

“Remember the value that you bring to the table: creativity, empathy, and the ability to change. AI will open doors that only humanity will be able to walk through,” he pointed out.

In a thought-provoking panel discussion led by Beth MacDonald, Chief People Officer of Biocellion SPC, Toledo, highlighted the intrinsic value of human intuition and design in an AI-driven world.

“Being human is the greatest design of all. While technology provides efficient solutions, it simply answers “what’s right” or “what’s needed”. BUT it’s us humans who trigger innovation and purpose. We hold the power to ask “what’s next?” and more importantly, “what for?” he said.

The International Design Conference, with its rich legacy of championing design innovation, is a thought leadership platform that celebrates the intersection of design, business, technology, and policy while thriving at the edge of disciplines to remain provocative and to use design and creativity to ask difficult questions and to take the audience to new territories.

Globe’s design leaders not only contributed to this dialogue but also illuminated the path forward, emphasizing a future where technology and human ingenuity seamlessly converge.

(Left) Paolo Toledo, Globe Head of Creatives; (Right) Wil Sarmiento, Globe Head of Customer Lifecycle

For more information about the International Design Conference and its key takeaways, please visit  www.facebook.com/DTI.DesignCenterPH.

To learn more about Globe, go to https://www.globe.com.ph/.

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TECHNOLOGY

LG honored with multiple awards for Innovative Product Design at IDEA 2023

September 4, 2023 3:11 p.m.

LG Electronics (LG) has once again been recognized for outstanding product design, earning 13 awards at the International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) 2023, announced at the International Design Conference in New York, New York.

The LG PuriCare AeroTower, an air purifier that can also be used as a side table and mood lamp, was honored with a Bronze Award at yesterday’s conference. Offering personalized performance and design options, as well as a compact form factor, LG’s air purifier can be tailored to match any home interior and is ideal for smaller spaces. With its latest win, the LG PuriCare AeroTower has now been recognized by all three of the world’s top industrial design award programs: IDEA, the Red Dot Award and iF Design Award.

Another IDEA 2023 honoree, the LG OLED Flex (model LX3) is an innovative TV featuring the world’s first bendable 42-inch OLED screen. The LX3, which made its international debut at IFA last year, offers a new level of screen customizability – its self-lit display able to go from completely flat to spectacularly curved with the push of a button.

“The achievement from this year’s IDEA is the result of the synergy between customer experience-centered technology and aesthetics,” said Hwang Sung-gyul, head of the Design Management Center at LG Electronics. “We will continue to improve the level of perfection by reflecting innovative customer experiences beyond the existing framework in product design by constantly communicating and empathizing with customers.”

Organized annually by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), IDEA is one of the world’s leading design award programs, recognizing exceptional achievements in the area of industrial design while taking into consideration various factors relating to design strategy, digital interaction, the environment, and social impact, when selecting award recipients.

Life’s about more than having the latest technology, rather, it’s about the experiences technology creates that impact our lives. LG Electronics Philippines delivers consumer electronics through top-of-the-line home entertainment appliances that prepare Filipinos for their greatest moments. LG promises to bring “Innovation for a Better Life” nationwide – from Luzon, to Visayas, and Mindanao. LG products are available via lg.com/ph and through its flagship stores in Lazada and Shopee. For more information, visit and follow their social media channels on FacebookInstagramTiktok and Youtube (@lgphilippines).

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