February 2014 – “Are your secrets safe?" With the level of security breaches and large-scale attacks on privacy increasing, the answer to this question is the key every Filipino netizen needs to unlock the right security mindset.
According to Trend Micro’s 2013 annual threat roundup, “Cashing in on Digital Information," the frequency of security breaches and targeted attacks, as well as the developments in online banking and mobile threats, makes it nearly impossible for users to keep both their financial and personal data private. Within the Internet lie thousands of phone numbers, email addresses, banking credentials, photos and videos, and personal conversations—all of which are available for cybercriminals to use or sell.
“Filipinos may have a false sense of security because they are not aware of the dangers they are exposing themselves to when they overlook things such as mobile privacy and using original software," shares TrendLabs Security Focus Lead Paul Oliveria. “If there’s anything Filipinos need to learn from 2013, it is that we’re no longer dealing with typical online scams and malware."
In a country associated with high software piracy rates according to a five-year study by The Software Alliance (BSA),Filipino users that install pirated software on their systems, more often than not, do not receive patches and software updates that help protect their devices and the data stored in them.
With Microsoft announcing the end of support for Windows XP slated for April 2014, Windows users—with roughly a quarter of Filipino Windows users still on Windows XP—will be unprotected targets from cybercriminal activities once system patches and security updates are no longer provided. Unpatched systems are always vulnerable to threats like zero-day exploits or malware which open up a user’s system or device to further compromise.
Moreover, Trend Micro’s annual report provides insight into the vulnerabilities of today’s rapidly interconnected and smart technologies. These new gadgets and processes open up more avenues and opportunities for cybercriminals to attack governments, business, including banks and retailers, as well as private individuals through home networks and mobile devices.
In spite of a 15% smartphone penetration rate in 2013, the Philippines is projected to see more Filipinos switching to smartphones this year. With 91% of Philippine smartphone users currently on Android, Filipinos should be more careful about what they do when they access the Internet on their devices, more so now given the challenge in obtaining Android OS updates.
Typical Android updates undergo a long process prior to widespread availability to the market. Google makes them available to device manufacturers who make updates compatible for their devices. This is then approved by the service providers before being released to their customers and subscribers. In other words, the longer it takes for Android users to receive updates, the longer the window for cybercriminals tocompromise these devices.
“With threats evolving at a rapid pace, consumers and corporations alike must learn to embrace this reality, proactively understand the cybercriminal landscape, and implement security measures to better safe-guard personal data and privacy," says Oliveria.
The report highlights include:
The report can be found here:
The full report can be found here:
Trend Micro Incorporated a global leader in security software, rated number one in server security (IDC, 2013), strives to make the world safe for exchanging digital information. Built on 25 years of experience, our solutions for consumers, businesses and governments provide layered data security to protect information on mobile devices, endpoints, gateways, servers and the cloud. Trend Micro enables the smart protection of information, with innovative security technology that is simple to deploy and manage, and fits an evolving ecosystem. All of our solutions are powered by cloud-based global threat intelligence, the Trend Micro™ Smart Protection Network™ infrastructure, and are supported by over 1,200 threat experts around the globe. For more information, visit TrendMicro.com.au.