The report maps out which countries and regions are getting hit by cyber attacks and what the trends are. The phenomenon is a particular headache for the financial services and wealth management sector, given the potential for theft.
Hackers have launched cybersecurity attacks in Asia region more aggressively than the world as a whole. More generally, the problem looms large when so many people are now working from home because of COVID-19, a new report said.
The biannual report from LexisNexis® Risk Solutions said the Asia-Pacific region saw higher attack rates than the global average, 3 per cent compared with 1.4 per cent globally. For the purpose of this report, "attack rate" relates to “high-risk” transactions as scored by global customers.
More positively, however, the overall human-initiated attack rate, as measured by LexisNexis fell through the first half of 2020, is down by 33 per cent, with a 23 per cent drop in financial services.
The pandemic has encouraged a big shift towards working from home, raising risks that home-based internet systems are more vulnerable. The stakes are large. According to the Cybersecurity Ventures’ cybercrime statistics 2017, cybercrime damages run into trillions of dollars and some experts fear that the cost of cybercrime could exceed annual costs for natural disasters by 2021 (source: Security Affairs, 18 January 2020).
Meanwhile, the use of digital channels continues to grow. The LexisNexis study crunches data from more than 22.5 billion transactions, rising by 37 per cent year-over-year. Mobile device transactions also continue to rise, with 66 per cent of all transactions coming from mobile devices in the first half of 2020, up from 20 per cent.
Commenting on Asia specifically, the report said that there was a spike in attack rates during June following an identity spoofing bot attack from the Philippines, which targeted a payment gateway.
More positively, attack rates in Asia-Pacific declined across all channels year over year. The only exception was a 9 per cent growth in automated bot attacks in the region, although this growth is still lower than the global average of 13 per cent.
APAC continues to experience higher attack rates than North America or Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The study found “significant” bot activity coming from Japan, India and Australia. They now rank fifth, seventh and eighth respectively as some of the largest originators of automated bot attacks by volume globally. Japan appears to be a particular hotspot: The country recorded the largest growth in bot attack originations year-over-year and is now one of the top ten largest contributors to human-initiated cyber attacks by volume. (In this case a “bot” is a software program that can execute commands, reply to messages, or perform routine tasks, such as online searches, either automatically or with minimal human intervention.)
“Hyper-connected, networked fraud continues to be a key feature of attacks. An Australian fraud network, for example. saw groups of fraudsters targeting the financial services, e-commerce and media sectors. This single network consisted of 2,400 devices, 3,700 email addresses and 1,500 telephone numbers, and at least $800,000 was exposed to fraud across the entire network,” the report said.