BOTH the private and public sectors are at risk of being targets of cybercriminals as the world is becoming more and more connected through technology. according to cybersecurity provider Trend Micro Philippines.
In a media roundtable discussion on Wednesday, the company revealed that the number of cybercrimes being done worldwide has reached alarming proportions as these hackers are no longer in hiding and are now specializing in their hacking methods.
Based on a recent report by Trend Micro, it was found that in the second quarter of 2015, cybercriminals have become more inventive in their attack methods and have become more strategic in selecting their victims to improve their infection rates.
Trend Micro Philippines director of marketing communications Myla Pilao said there has been a dramatic shift in the threat landscape as hackers are becoming more creative with not only their methods but also in choosing their targets as well.
“This past quarter demonstrated that the potential damage caused by cyber-attacks extends far beyond a simple software bug to hacks of airplanes, smart cars, and television stations,” said Pilao.
Pilao emphasized that the word “security” has now become a buzzword in the country as problems arising in this field need to be addressed, especially in the field of cybersecurity.
People are living so much in the digital age of connectivity “that we are all at risk of being targets of cyber-attacks,” she said.
“If it’s connected to the internet, it’s a target,” said Pilao. She added that we need to assume that everything that is connected to the internet can be compromised.
Cybersecurity in business
Trend Micro said that a lot of businesses today depend on technology in managing their data and transactions because of the benefits that it gives, but with it also comes the risk of data breach, theft and abuse.
The cybersecurity provider noted that the financial, legal and brand health of a business are threatened by security shortcomings.
It explained that from a financial standpoint, data breaches could affect a business in three ways such as cost of stolen data, cost of recovery and possible reparations for affected customers.
Cybersecurity gaps can damage the reputation of an organization, it said, citing the Ashley Madison incident in the US where data breach tarnished the image of the company to the point where the CEO of its parent company had to step down, which destroyed the company’s plan for an IPO.
Public sector also at risk
Trend Micro said that as the Internet of Things advances, smart devices or innovations that are used for public-facing technologies can also be exploited, which could cause virtual and physical destruction.
It noted that public transportation such as cars and planes, and public utilities such as gas stations could become targets for cyber-attacks as these could be derailed just by using controlled internet-facing devices.
A US-based study conducted by Trend Micro found that in the second quarter of 2015, government entities received the full impact of cyberattacks with massive data breaches on both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in May and the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) system in June.
It noted that the OPM data breach was the largest of its kind to date, exposing personally identifiable information of approximately 21 million individuals.
Pilao stressed that education and knowledge in security is very important for protection against cybercrimes.
Trend Micro added: “Strategic partnerships prove to be vital in formulating immediate and long-term resolutions to combat cybercrimes.”
It cited that it has aided law enforcement agencies in taking down notorious botnets that were heavily involved in fulls-cale cybercriminal operations.
Trend Micro also urged businesses to be proactive, extra cautious, run information and education campaigns inside their organizations and apply modern-day security solutions to lessen the risks of cyber attacks.