Viet Nam among top targets for phishing in Southeast Asia

Saturday, Sep 07, 2019 07:56

There were 14 million phishing attempts against internet users in the Southeast Asian region for the first six months of 2019. — Photo

Viet Nam is among the top three target countries for phishing websites in Southeast Asia in the first half of the year, according to the global cybersecurity company Kaspersky.

Recent statistics gathered by Kaspersky showed Southeast Asia remains a target of cybercriminals attempting to infect networks and devices through the simplest yet most effective trick called phishing. The global cybersecurity company has detected a total of 14 million phishing attempts against internet users in the region for the first six months of 2019.

It reveals that there were over 11 million combined attempts detected from these three countries. Moreover, Thailand logged nearly 1.5 million attempts while the Philippines had over one million incidents. Singapore posted only 351,510 attempts from January to June of this year.

On the other hand, the ranking of SEA countries dynamically changes when it comes to the percentage of users infected by phishing attacks. In Kaspersky’s phishing statistics for the first half of 2019, it shows the Philippines has the highest percentage of phishing victims at 17.3 per cent. The growth posted is a whopping 65.56 per cent higher compared with the data for the same period last year at 10.449 per cent.

Malaysia scored the second highest with 15.8 per cent of users infected through phishing from 11.2 per cent in the first half of 2018. Coming behind is Indonesia with 14.3 per cent from 10.7 per cent last year, Thailand at 11.9 per cent from 10.9 per cent and Viet Nam followed closely at 11.7 per cent from 9.4 per cent. Singapore recorded 5 per cent this year compared to 4.1 per cent posted last year.

Phishing attempts refer to the frequency that cybercriminals try to entice Kaspersky users to visit fraudulent websites to steal their information in particular regions and territories. Meanwhile, the percentage of infected users indicates the proportion of Kaspersky users targeted by these phishing attempts within a given timeframe.

“This old but effective threat is real in Southeast Asia and shows no signs of fading anytime soon. The region is composed of many young and highly-mobile populations and, admit or not, we need to educate them on the risks of basic attacks like phishing. It is an accepted fact that the young users will buy a new phone then think of securing it physically but never virtually. And as long as individuals will continue to let their guard down when using the internet, we can be sure that we’d keep on counting phishing victims again and again,” said Yeo Siang Tiong, General Manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky.

The effectiveness of phishing scams proved enticing to criminals who can easily sell stolen credentials on the dark web. Fraudsters are after user credentials that include credit card numbers and passwords to bank accounts and other financial applications.

While authorities and private companies have warned users time and again that they would not solicit personal information over the internet, the number of victims has been increasing. In spite of the increased awareness of online scams, users are becoming less concerned about the consequences as evidenced by the growth in the number of affected users.

“It’s seriously alarming that phishing tricks are still very effective in deceiving internet users in Southeast Asia. It’s also worth noting that cybercriminals can use the same email phishing strategy for years and someone will still provide their personal details willingly or click a malicious link unknowingly. Our latest data proves that we really need to work on turning the internet users in the region into well-informed and meticulous recipients who would be able to recognise such ancient tricks,” Yeo added.

Kaspersky said users should always keep a keen eye on suspicious emails and maintain two email addresses if you are using free accounts to avoid falling victim to a phishing scam. Not all smartphones are secure so be careful of messages that will lead you to a website. In addition, people should use a reliable security solution with anti-phishing and secure payment capabilities. — VNS

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