PH firms succumbing to hackers’ new modus
Hacking has become an organized crime in the country such that about 21 local firms have already fallen victim to cybercriminals’ new modus—double extortion, whereby stolen data remains in the dark web even after companies have paid a ransom.
Tech firm Microsoft Philippines has warned companies against enterprising “cyberhackers” who create an organized supply chain to steal and sell corporate data.
Abbas Kudrati, Microsoft chief cybersecurity advisor for Asia-Pacific, in a press briefing on Wednesday, noted of the rising trend in cybercrime-as-a-service (CaaS).
He said “cybercrime has also become a new business form.”
Under CaaS, cyberhackers are “easily” able to buy a ransomware kit off the dark web “with a couple of hundreds of dollars.” Ransomware means the hacker holds an entity’s data or system hostage until a ransom is paid.
To make sure that the cyberattack is successful, multiple players are asked to join and perform specific roles.
According to Kudrati, one is responsible for the creation of the ransomware, one is tasked in the distribution of the kits, another will be responsible for launching an attack, while another will sell the stolen data.
The hackers then ask the victims to pay for their data to be released. Despite negotiations with the companies, the hackers still sell the data to another entity.
“They will make the money from you and also they will make money by sending the data [to others],” Kudrati said, explaining the concept of “double extortion.”
Citing the Open Ransomware Cyber Extortion Attack and Breach Tracker, Kudrati said 15 companies have fallen prey to criminals this year. According to the tracker, six were victimized in 2021.
These companies are from different sectors, including automobiles, retail and real estate.
The usual entry point for ransomware attacks is through a malicious email, he explained.
The cyberattackers then access private data in just one hour and 12 minutes. “They are so quick and sophisticated,” he said.
Microsoft blocks about 710 million global phishing emails weekly, he noted.
Microsoft Philippines national technology and security officer Dale Jose stressed the need for companies to practice cyber hygiene. These include enabling multifactor authentication and using modern antimalware and data protection.
He also urged the government to establish consistent security baselines for critical infrastructures such as transportation, energy, water, banking and finance and telecommunication.
“No matter how much digitalization you do, if you do not have a solid cybersecurity foundation, it will hinder its growth,” Jose said.
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