Developing markets in Asia Pacific challenged by ransomware and malware encounters, while developed markets struggle with increased drive-by download attack volumes: Microsoft Security Endpoint Threat Report 2019

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Developing markets in Asia Pacific challenged by ransomware and malware encounters, while developed markets struggle with increased drive-by download attack volumes: Microsoft Security Endpoint Threat Report 2019
  • Malware
    and ransomware attack rates in developing markets were 1.6 times higher than
    the regional average
  • Key
    financial hubs, Singapore and Hong Kong, struggled with drive-by download attack
    volumes that were three times higher than the regional and global average

SINGAPORE
– Media OutReach –
16 June 2020 – Microsoft
today unveiled Asia Pacific findings from the latest edition of its Security Endpoint
Threat Report 2019
,
an annual research aimed at identifying cyber threats and building cyber resilience
across the region.

 

Findings were derived from an analysis of
diverse Microsoft data sources, including 8 trillion threat signals received
and analyzed by Microsoft every day, covering a 12-month period, from January
to December 2019.

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The
research revealed significant differences in the exposure to cyberthreats
between developed and developing countries[1], with developing countries continuing to remain vulnerable to
threats despite the overall decrease in encounter rates across the region.

 

“As
security defenses evolve and attackers rely on new techniques, Microsoft’s
unique access to billions of threat signals every day enables us to gather data
and insights to inform our response to cyberattacks,” said Mary Jo Schrade,
Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, Microsoft Asia.

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“The
Microsoft Security Endpoint Threat report aims to create a better understanding
of the evolving threat landscape and help organizations improve their
cybersecurity posture by mitigating the effects of increasingly sophisticated
attacks.”

 

Malware
and ransomware remain key cybersecurity challenges in developing markets

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Asia
Pacific continued to experience a higher-than-average encounter rate for
malware and ransomware attacks – 1.6 and 1.7 times higher respectively than the
rest of the world. This is despite a 23 and 29 percent overall decline across
these two threat vectors when compared to the 2018 findings.

 

The
research revealed that developing countries, including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India,
and Vietnam, were most vulnerable to malware and ransomware threats in 2019.

 

“Often,
high malware encounters correlate with both piracy rates and overall cyber
hygiene, that includes regular patching and updating of software.  Countries that have higher piracy rates and
lower cyber hygiene tend to be more severely impacted by cyberthreats. Patching,
using legitimate software, and keeping it updated can decrease the likelihood
of malware and ransomware infections,” explained Schrade.

 

Developing markets in Asia Pacific challenged by ransomware and malware encounters, while developed markets struggle with increased drive-by download attack volumes: Microsoft Security Endpoint Threat Report 2019

 

The
research identified that countries with lower piracy rates and stronger cyber
hygiene practices have witnessed a significant decline in attacks. Specifically, malware
and ransomware threat encounter rates in Japan, New Zealand, and Australia, were
three to six times lower than the regional average.

 

Despite
the low threat encounters observed in developed countries, Schrade encouraged all
businesses to remain vigilant. “Cybercriminals do not stand still. We are witnessing
attackers pivoting away from conventional methods, and shifting towards customized
campaigns, targeted at specific geographies, industries, and businesses. By
relying on cloud technology and developing a comprehensive cyber resilience
strategy, organizations can effectively bolster their cybersecurity strategies.”

 

Cryptocurrency
mining on the rise in developing markets

India,
Indonesia, and Sri Lanka recorded the highest cryptocurrency mining encounters in
Asia last year.  During such attacks,
victims’ computers are infected with cryptocurrency mining malware, allowing
criminals to leverage the computing power of their computers without their
knowledge.

 

On
the declining encounter rate recorded in countries such as Hong Kong, Japan and
Singapore, Schrade elaborated, “Cybercriminals are usually incentivized by
quick financial gains. We believe that the recent fluctuations in the value of
cryptocurrency and the increased time required to generate it, has perhaps led
to them focusing on other forms of cybercrime.”

 

Developing markets in Asia Pacific challenged by ransomware and malware encounters, while developed markets struggle with increased drive-by download attack volumes: Microsoft Security Endpoint Threat Report 2019

 

Drive-by
download attack volume reaches parity with global average but continue to
challenge regional business and financial hubs

The Drive-by
download attack volume[2] in Asia Pacific has
converged with the rest of the world at 0.08, following a 27 percent decline
from 2018.

 

These
attacks involve downloading malicious code onto an unsuspecting user’s computer
when they visit a website or fill up a form. The malicious code that is
downloaded is then used by an attacker to steal passwords or financial
information.

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Developing markets in Asia Pacific challenged by ransomware and malware encounters, while developed markets struggle with increased drive-by download attack volumes: Microsoft Security Endpoint Threat Report 2019

 

Despite
the general decline in drive-by download attacks across the region, the study
found that regional business hubs, Singapore and Hong Kong, recorded the
highest attack volume in 2019, over 3 times the regional and global average.

 

“We
usually see cybercriminals launch such attacks to steal financial information or
intellectual property. This is a likely reason why regional financial hubs
recorded the highest volume of such threats. The high attack volume in these
markets may not necessarily translate into a high infection rate, perhaps due
to their good cyber hygiene practices and use of genuine software,” explained
Schrade.

 

Cybersecurity
in the age of COVID-19

With
the turn of the new year, COVID-19 has changed the landscape and remains the
top-of-mind concern for individuals, organizations, and governments around the
world.

 

Since
the outbreak, Microsoft Intelligence Protection team’s data has shown that every
country in the world has seen at least one COVID-19 themed attack, and the
volume of successful attacks in outbreak-hit countries seems to be increasing,
as fear and the desire for information grows.

 

Of
the millions of targeted phishing messages seen globally each day, roughly
60,000 include COVID-19 related malicious attachments or malicious URLs. Attackers
are impersonating established entities like the World Health Organization
(WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Department of
Health to get into inboxes.

 

Schrade
further explained, “According to our data, we found that COVID-19 themed threats are mostly rethreads of existing
attacks that have been slightly altered to tie to the pandemic
. This
means that attackers have been pivoting their existing infrastructure, like
ransomware, phishing, and other malware delivery tools, to include COVID-19
keywords, to capitalize on people’s fear. Once users click on these malicious
links, attackers can infiltrate networks, steal information and monetize their
attacks.”

 

Businesses
and individuals have a crucial role to play in navigating cyberspace securely and
are encouraged to take the following steps:

Guidance for businesses:

  • Have strong tools to
    safeguard employees and infrastructure. This means looking into multi-layered defense
    systems and turning on multi-factor authentication (MFA) as employees work from
    home. Additionally, enable endpoint protection and protect against shadow IT
    and unsanctioned app usage with solutions like Microsoft Cloud App Security
  • Ensure employee
    guidelines are communicated clearly to employees. This includes information on how
    to identify phishing attempts, distinguishing between official communications
    and suspicious messages that violate company policy, and where these can be
    reported internally
  • Choose a trusted
    application for audio/video calling and file sharing that ensures end-to-end
    encryption

 

Guidance for individuals:

  • Update
    all devices with the latest security updates and use an antivirus or
    anti-malware service. For Windows 10 devices, Microsoft Defender Antivirus is a
    free built-in service enabled through settings
  • Be
    alert to links and attachments, especially from unknown senders
  • Use
    multi-factor authentication (MFA) on all accounts. Now, most online services
    provide a way to use your mobile device or other methods to protect your
    accounts in this way
  • Get
    educated on how to recognize phishing attempts and report suspected encounters,
    including watching out for spelling and bad grammar, and suspicious links and
    attachments from people you do not know

For more information on the findings
published on the Microsoft Security Intelligence website, please visit:
https://www.microsoft.com/securityinsights



[1] The research covered a total of 15 markets, including developing markets
China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and
Vietnam; and developed markets Taiwan, Singapore, New Zealand, Korea, Japan,
Hong Kong, Australia. Markets were categorized with reference to International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Database, October 2018.

[2] The Security Endpoint Threat report records the average
volume of drive-by download pages detected for every 1,000 pages indexed by
Bing

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”
@microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud
and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every
organization on the planet to achieve more.

Developing markets in Asia Pacific challenged by ransomware and malware encounters, while developed markets struggle with increased drive-by download attack volumes: Microsoft Security Endpoint Threat Report 2019

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Developing markets in Asia Pacific challenged by ransomware and malware encounters, while developed markets struggle with increased drive-by download attack volumes: Microsoft Security Endpoint Threat Report 2019 - Brand SpurDeveloping markets in Asia Pacific challenged by ransomware and malware encounters, while developed markets struggle with increased drive-by download attack volumes: Microsoft Security Endpoint Threat Report 2019 - Brand Spur

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Developing markets in Asia Pacific challenged by ransomware and malware encounters, while developed markets struggle with increased drive-by download attack volumes: Microsoft Security Endpoint Threat Report 2019 - Brand SpurDeveloping markets in Asia Pacific challenged by ransomware and malware encounters, while developed markets struggle with increased drive-by download attack volumes: Microsoft Security Endpoint Threat Report 2019 - Brand Spur

Latest News

Qatar Airways Launches Ferry Transfer Service from Shenzhen Shekou to Hong Kong International Airport

Qatar Airways introduces Upstream Check-in Service in Shenzhen starting from 15 April 2021 to offer greater connectivity in the Greater Bay Area

Local passengers will have the option to utilise the 30-minutes-long ferry service to fly out of Hong Kong; "Asia's World City" to over 80 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas


SHENZHEN & HONG KONG SAR, CHINA - Media OutReach - 12 April 2021 - Qatar Airways today announced the sea-to-air ferry transfer service from Shenzhen Shekou Port to the SkyPier in the airside of Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) starting from 15 April 2021, providing passengers in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), one of the world's most dynamic mega-regions, convenient access to the airline's global network from "Asia's World City".


Developing markets in Asia Pacific challenged by ransomware and malware encounters, while developed markets struggle with increased drive-by download attack volumes: Microsoft Security Endpoint Threat Report 2019 - Brand Spur

Partnering with Airport Authority Hong Kong, the introduction of the Upstream Check-in Service will allow Qatar Airways customers in Shenzhen greater flexibility and enhanced travel options to the world from Hong Kong, where the airline operates daily direct service to Doha with its modern and fuel-efficient Airbus A350-900 aircraft that features 36 lie-flat seats in Business Class and 247 seats in Economy Class.

Qatar Airways customers can purchase their ferry tickets from SkyLink or the port's website. Passengers utilising the 30-minutes-long ferry service will be provided with boarding passes and baggage check-through service to their final destinations at the Shenzhen Shekou terminal, where they will also clear their customs and immigration. Upon arrival at SkyPier, customers can proceed directly to their Qatar Airways boarding gate, or enjoy the award-winning duty-free shopping experience and fine-dining options at HKIA before continuing a seamless and hassle-free onward journey with the airline to more than 80 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas.

Mr. Thomas Scruby, Qatar Airways Vice President of Sales for Australasia & North Asia, said: "The introduction of ferry transfer service will boost our footprint in the Greater Bay Area by providing our Southern Chinese customers more flexible flying options via HKIA. We know connectivity within the region and to the wider world is critical for the success of the GBA. Therefore, we are excited to do our part to build the infrastructure necessary to make it easier and smoother for local customers to travel despite the disruption caused by the pandemic around the world."

"We are confident in the market's demand and our commitment to the region remains resolute. The next phase of our partnership with Airport Authority Hong Kong will see the ferry transfer service to be further expanded to other key GBA metropolis such as Macau and Dongguan once government restrictions are lifted, allowing even more customers in the region to enjoy the world-class experience that Qatar Airways has to offer."

Premium customers opting for the ferry transfer service can continue to enjoy the luxurious on-ground experience at the Plaza Premium Lounge, conveniently located near Gate 1 at the South Departures Hall in Hong Kong International Airport. Passengers will be able to take advantage of the well-furnished environment with comfortable seating, shower rooms, contactless food ordering service, highspeed Wi-Fi and international TV channels. Privilege Club Gold members and above as well as selected oneworld frequent flyers also enjoy access to The Wing located near Gates 1 - 4, the industry-renowned lounge operated by Cathay Pacific, where guests can recharge, relax, and catch up with work before boarding their Qatar Airways flights.

The Greater Bay area is home to many of the nation's leading universities and academic institutions; the ferry transfer service will also provide more travel choices to the area's students wishing to complete their higher-education or exchange programs abroad. International students will be able to enroll in Qatar Airways Student Club and enjoy a wide range of benefits throughout their educational journey, such as special fares, extra baggage allowances, the flexibility to change the dates of their flight, complimentary Super Wi-Fi onboard, and more. For information about Student Club, visit: https://www.qatarairways.com/en/student-club.html

In addition to the highest safety standards, passengers flying with Qatar Airways will enjoy an even greater range of thoughtfully designed onboard experiences, including locally inspired menus, multi-language entertainment programs within the airline's award-winning IFE system, as well as Cantonese and Mandarin-speaking staff service both onboard and at the airline's five-star hub Hamad International Airport (HIA).

Qatar Airways continues to expand its network of destinations, offering more flights to international destinations than any other airline. By the middle of summer 2021, Qatar Airways' plans to rebuild its network to more than 140 destinations including 23 in Africa, 14 in the Americas, 43 in Asia-Pacific, 43 in Europe and 19 in Middle East. Many cities will be served with a strong schedule with daily or more frequencies.

Qatar Airways has become the first global airline in the world to achieve the prestigious 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating by international air transport rating organisation, Skytrax. This follows HIA's recent success as the first airport in the Middle East and Asia to be awarded a Skytrax 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating. These recognitions provide assurance to passengers across the world that airline health and safety standards are subject to the highest possible standards of professional, independent scrutiny and assessment. For full details of all the measures that have been implemented onboard and in HIA, please visit qatarairways.com/safety.

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named 'World's Best Airline' by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by the international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named 'Best Airline in the Middle East', 'World's Best Business Class', and 'Best Business Class Seat', in recognition of its ground-breaking Business Class experience, Qsuite. Qsuite is available on flights to more than 45 destinations including Johannesburg, Frankfurt, New York and Singapore.

About Qatar Airways:

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named 'World's Best Airline' by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named 'Best Airline in the Middle East', 'World's Best Business Class' and 'Best Business Class Seat', in recognition of its ground-breaking Business Class experience, Qsuite. Qatar Airways is the only airline to have been awarded the coveted "Skytrax Airline of the Year" title, which is recognised as the pinnacle of excellence in the airline industry, five times.


Hamad International Airport (HIA), the airline's home and hub, was recently ranked "Third Best Airport in the World", among 550 airports worldwide, by the SKYTRAX World Airport Awards 2020. Rising from fourth position in 2019 to third in 2020, HIA has been steadily rising in the 'World's Best Airports' rankings since the start of its operations in 2014. In addition, HIA was voted the 'Best Airport in the Middle East' for the sixth year in a row and 'Best Staff Service in the Middle East' for the fifth year in a row.


Qsuite, a patented Qatar Airways product, features the industry's first-ever double bed in Business Class, as well as privacy panels that stow away, allowing passengers in adjoining seats to create their own private room, a first of its kind in the industry.

Qatar Airways was the first Gulf carrier to join global airline alliance oneworld, enabling its passengers to benefit from more than 1,000 airports in more than 160 countries, with 14,250 daily departures.


Oryx One, Qatar Airways' in-flight entertainment system offers passengers up to 4,000 entertainment options from the latest blockbuster movies, TV box sets, music, games and much more. Passengers flying on Qatar Airways flights served by its B787, B777, A350, A380, A319 and select A320 and A330 aircraft can also stay in touch with their friends and family around the world by using the award-winning airline's on-board Wi-Fi and GSM service.


Qatar Airways proudly supports a range of exciting international and local initiatives dedicated to enriching the global community that it serves. Qatar Airways, the official FIFA partner, is the official sponsor of many top-level sporting events, including the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022TM, reflecting the values of sports as a means of bringing people together, something at the core of the airline's own brand message - Going Places Together.


Qatar Airways Cargo, one of the world's leading international air cargo carriers, serves more than 60 freighter destinations worldwide via its world-class Doha hub and also delivers freight in the belly-hold of passenger aircraft to an extensive global network. The Qatar Airways Cargo fleet includes two Boeing 747-8 freighters and 24 Boeing 777 freighters.


Qatar Executive is the private jet charter division of Qatar Airways Group. Luxury jet services are available for worldwide charter on board the operator's wholly-owned business jet fleet. Qatar Executive is the launch customer for Gulfstream's G700, the world's first commercial service operator of the Gulfstream G500 and largest commercial operator of the G650ER worldwide. Qatar Executive's service portfolio also includes aircraft management, maintenance and Fixed Based Operator services.

Developing markets in Asia Pacific challenged by ransomware and malware encounters, while developed markets struggle with increased drive-by download attack volumes: Microsoft Security Endpoint Threat Report 2019 - Brand Spur
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