Thailand at high risk for ransomware

Thailand at high risk for ransomware

Ransomware attacks, exploit kits and ATM malware are the biggest cybersecurity threats in Thailand, says a global security software company.

"Thailand ranked among the top 10 countries in Asia-Pacific with the most number of ransomware attacks," said Myla Pilao, technology marketing director at Trend Micro.

In the first half of 2016, she said the number of ransomware-related attacks in Thailand accounted for 12% of Asia-Pacific's overall incidents and 1.5% of the total worldwide.

Ransomware has increased significantly in the first half of 2016, including a 172% rise in new ransomware families, and ransomware victims paid out over US$209 million, she said.

Ransomware is a type of malware that holds computers or files for ransom by encrypting files or locking the desktop or browser systems that are infected with it, then demanding a ransom in order to regain access.

Ms Pilao said ransomware is not just a threat for consumers to worry about, as it is being used in attacks on enterprises, particularly files related to databases.

ATM malware has been present the past decade in other regions, but recent incidents in Thailand show the country is now under threat, she said.

Ms Pilao said policymakers in Thailand should implement a disclosure regulation to mandate financial institutions disclose cyberincidents to the public.

To prevent such incidents, banks need to update their security patches for software and networks to prevent cyberattacks in their organisations.

Stricter measures are also needed to prevent suspicious activities such as physical attacks on ATM machines, she said.

Organisations should start re-evaluating their cybersecurity strategies and devise a multi-layered approach against ransomware, said Ms Pilao.

Piyatida Tanrakul, country manager of Trend Micro (Thailand), said in light of the recent ATM malware attacks in Thailand, local banks are beefing up their cybersecurity projects. They have promised to deploy new security systems within two months.

Mid-sized companies and the manufacturing sector are investing in cybersecurity solutions to prevent ransomware, she said.

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