Asia-Pacific most hit by ransomware

Asia-Pacific led the world in ransomware threats during the first half of 2017, with 35.7% of all ransomware detected globally targeted at companies in the region.

Following the heels of APAC was EMEA (25.24%), Latin America (22.66%), and North America (15.71%).

These figures were revealed by Trend Micro, which detected 82 million ransomware from January to June 2017. The company also blocked more than 3,000 business e-mail compromise (BEC) attempts, and discovered and responsibly disclosed 382 new vulnerabilities.

The top three malware found in the region were DocDrop, DOWNAD and WannaCry. The worse hit countries in the region are Japan, Australia, and Taiwan.

APAC also led the globe in the number of detections for online banking malware in the first half of the year, with 118,193 malware discovered and blocked. This was four times more than EMEA (24,798) and five times more than North America (20,888). Japan, China, and Vietnam bore the brunt of the attacks.

Trend Micro also found that over 47 million malicious mobile apps were downloaded by users in APAC, much more than those from other regions. For instance, EMEA users downloaded 30 million such apps; the numbers are even lower in North America (eight million) and Latin America (six million).

Exploit kits are another prominent threat in the APAC region, with a total of 556,542 detected within the six months, more than quadrupling the second place – North America (120,470).

The most distributed exploit kits for the first six months in APAC are Rig, Magnitude, Sundown, and Nebula. Exploit kits normally target popular software such as AdobeFlash, Java, and Microsoft Silverlight. In 2017, connected industrial systems became a popular target for exploit kits too.

Against the backdrop of the growing ransomware threats, Trend Micro says the best defence against ransomware is to block them at the source level via web or e-mail gateway solutions like those it provides.

There is a danger in pitching any cyber security product as the “best defence” because not only does this create a false sense of security, it obfuscates the need for organisations to get the basics right, such as applying software patches religiously. After all, many that were hit by WannCry could have reversed their fates if they had a robust patch management programme in place.