Daring cybercriminals favoring firms in PH–experts

/ 01:13 AM June 15, 2017

Companies in the Philippines remained a choice target for cybercriminals, with IT spending on security here still a relatively low priority despite the magnitude of the threat, an official of research and consultancy firm IDC said on Wednesday.

Sudev Bangah, IDC country manager for the Philippines and Indonesia, said cybersecurity spending in the Philippines fell far behind most countries in the Asia-Pacific. He noted the Philippines ranked 11th out of the 13 countries in the region by this measure.


He said many Filipino companies that do invest in IT security devote most resources into hardware, with little focus on other aspects, like securing their data.

Research from Juniper Research showed the global cost of cybercrimes will hit $2.1 trillion by 2019, as the digital shift hastens and as cyberattacks become more sophisticated. To date, no local information is available.


“The Philippines, unfortunately, is in a vulnerable position right now,” Bangah said during the Philippine Digital Convention 2017, an event led by PLDT Inc. and IDC.

PLDT chief revenue officer Eric Alberto said in the same event that his own experience dealing with clients’ IT security matters revealed that the Philippines was among “the most attacked” in the world in terms of cybercrimes.

Alberto cited the country’s “strong affinity” in terms of culture and business ties to the United States, which he described as “undoubtedly the most cybersecurity attacked country in the world.”

The conference was aimed at promoting PLDT’s digital business solutions for small to large enterprises. IT security is a running concern for many business owners.

A separate briefing led by IP Converge Data Services Inc. and multinational technology firm Continent 8 downplayed the Philippines’ prominence as a global target for cyberattacks.

IP Converge chief operating officer Patrick de Leon said awareness was up, following a string of incidents including the WannaCry ransomware attack, which affected hundreds of thousands of computers around the globe.

He nevertheless acknowledged that companies needed to bolster their IT defenses.


“I think the challenge that most CIOs [ chief information officers] have at this point is really convincing their bosses about the economics of not having protection versus the loss when they’re attacked,” de Leon said.

Most of these threats are called distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which effectively shut down an online service by overwhelming it with traffic, usually coming from multiple sources.

Nick Nally, Continent 8 chief development officer, said perpetrators profited from the ransomware attacks, with the average ransom of $7,520 paid over the last year. During this period, such attacks had doubled, he said.

He added small “warning shot” attacks can be bought for as little as $6. Nally noted that companies typically underestimated the cost of such attacks to their businesses.

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