Hackers target Thai online banking

Hackers target Thai online banking

Country among most at risk, warns analyst

The big increase in internet users in Thailand could allow more chances for hackers to attack online systems, say experts. PATTARAPONG CHATPATTARASILL
The big increase in internet users in Thailand could allow more chances for hackers to attack online systems, say experts. PATTARAPONG CHATPATTARASILL

Thailand's cybersecurity is at risk because it is one of the world's top targets for attack by online banking and point-of-sale (PoS) malware infections, warns Trend Micro Inc, a Tokyo-based security software firm.

"The increase of internet users here means hackers can have more chances to attack their online banking activities," said Dhanya Thakkar, managing director for Asia-Pacific.

In the second quarter, malware infections of online banking in Thailand accounted for 3% of global detections.

Malware is malicious software used to disrupt computer operations, gather sensitive information or gain access to a private computer system.

As of June 30, Thailand was ranked among the top 10 under-threat countries for PoS malware, as many PoS computers use the outdated Windows XP operating system.

Moreover, the country was ranked seventh, accounting for 3% of global PoS malware.

The US, Brazil, Taiwan, Austria and Japan were in the top five with 37%, 10%, 8%, 6% and 4%, respectively.

Thailand is also a hotbed for vulnerabilities, being the fifth most-affected country for exploit kit-related attacks with 2% of detections globally.

Trend Micro detected an average of 17,000 malware infections in Thailand in the first half of this year.

In terms of overall cybersecurity risks, Thailand came third in Asean after Vietnam and Indonesia.

"The future of cyberthreats will be electronic attacks on critical infrastructure, an increase in hacking against the Internet of Things (IoT) with direct physical impact and micro criminality, in which hackers steal such small amounts of money that it's hard to notice," Mr Thakkar said.

Tuang Cheevatadavirut, senior market analyst at IDC Thailand, said Thai companies' investment in cybersecurity remained low despite increasing risks.

IDC surveyed 648 Asean executives and found security risk management and data governance in Thailand came sixth, while big data, social media, the IoT, cloud and mobility were the top five priorities for company investments.

Mr Tuang said security vendors would move to use big data for processing security threat intelligence. 

IDC estimates by 2017, some 75% of large companies will receive custom threat intelligence information tailored to suit their industry, company and brand.

Business and cloud service providers will adopt data encryption in the cloud system. An estimated 20% of proprietary data in the cloud will be encrypted this year, rising to 80% by 2018.

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