Asia Pacific ransomware attacks 2.4 times higher than before the outbreak Taiwan is the 5th hardest hit

Microsoft’s latest information security survey shows that the rate of ransomware attacks in the Asia-Pacific region increased by an average of 2.4 times compared to the pre-epidemic period, and Taiwan was ranked in the top 5 in the Asia-Pacific region. The Taiwan government’s information security department told Radio Free Asia that there was no obvious case of government departments being attacked after the epidemic, but the risk of being attacked did increase after the epidemic by shunting offices from home. Scholars are calling for Taiwan to strengthen its information security protection.

Microsoft released data from its own Microsoft Defender Antivirus on January 1, showing that the rate of malicious program attacks in the Asia-Pacific region increased by 19% on average compared to the rate before the epidemic, and the rate of ransomware attacks increased by 240% (2.4 times) on average compared to the rate before the epidemic. Among them, the rate of malware attacks in Taiwan increased by 16%, and the rate of ransomware attacks increased by 407%.

Taiwan ranks among the top 5 hotspots for ransomware attacks in Asia Pacific

The report shows that Taiwan ranks fifth in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of ransomware encounter rate, behind New Zealand (825%), Japan (541%), China (463%) and Australia (453%).

Microsoft’s survey pointed out that hackers launched an average of 50 million password attacks per day, equivalent to 579 times per second. Microsoft intercepted 30 billion e-mail threats last year. Microsoft predicts that the impact of cybercrime on the global economy in 2022, will reach about 8 trillion dollars cost.

Zhu Yifang, vice president of Microsoft 365 business unit in Taiwan, pointed out that more than 98% of the Asia-Pacific region, including Taiwan, are small and medium-sized enterprises, which may not have an information security department, and called on Taiwanese enterprises to formulate an information security defense strategy as soon as possible to cope with a more flexible hybrid office model in the future.
Taiwan Executive Yuan Information Security Division Director Jane Hongwei said in an interview with Radio Free Asia on the 5th that, from the government’s observation, such attacks are continuous and usually ebb and flow due to major events.

Taiwan government departments are attacked 30 million times a month on average

Jane Hongwei said: “Every month an average of 20 million to 40 million times by the attack, an average of 30 million times a month, there are a variety of different patterns, such as account intrusion, database intrusion, blackmail attacks, or data theft, there are many kinds. This is only the case of government departments.”

Jane Hongwei reminded that the government and enterprises under the epidemic to adopt a shunt home office situation is common, through the home computer and the Internet, link to the office related web pages to be careful, especially strange websites, software, programs, letters from unknown sources, do not click to open, do not deal with sensitive information at home, can reduce the case of attacks.

For example, Mr. Kan said: “In the past, you will not receive letters from senders, letters that have nothing to do with your business, letters sent to win the jackpot, etc. Try not to open. In addition, cell phone newsletters received a link to confirm before opening, to reduce the attack.”

Jane Hongwei mentioned that Taiwan’s government departments also set the relevant work at home information security norms to protect government information. “Try not to mix computers, important sensitive confidential documents do not take home, be sure to start anti-virus software, official business transmission files to encrypt. Account password is recommended to be set and open, so that different users at home on the same computer, can also be separated, control the risk of information security.”

Jane also mentioned that Taiwan has norms for the use of ZOOM, there must be some security settings. In addition, it is recommended that some strange software should not be used, and special attention should be paid to accessing personal information when installing. In addition, when people install software, do not use cracked versions, and do not use the links passed by others to download, should go to the official web page to install and download genuine software.

Scholars: U.S. ransomware attack to terrorist attack national security threat level

Professor Lin Zongnan of the Department of Electrical Engineering at National Taiwan University said in an interview with Radio Free Asia that Microsoft’s survey is a warning sign that Taiwan’s information security protection is relatively weak compared to other countries, otherwise it would not be subject to higher frequency of information security attacks, especially after the epidemic work at home, Taiwan’s small and medium-sized enterprises should do a good job of basic information security protection.

Lin Zongnan pointed out that ransomware is currently a very serious information security threat, through malicious program behavior, may be through phishing emails, or some social software, into the enterprise internal network, and quickly encrypt the data. This type of “ransomware” enters the dark economy.

You don’t have to be able to write malicious programs, as long as the malicious programs written by hackers are successful, these hackers can share the profits,” said Lin Zongnan. Now the ransomware has become an economic act, and hackers have a high economic incentive to evade the detection of enterprise information security devices. Suppose the enterprise operation information is encrypted, we have to pay the ransom for the hacker, give a hand to unlock the encryption password, the enterprise can get back the encrypted information.”

Lin Zongnan mentioned that last month, an oil pipeline rental gasoline company in the eastern United States was attacked by ransomware, and the company’s key facilities to transmit gasoline service was interrupted.

Lin Zongnan also said that the U.S. President Joe Biden met with Russian President Vladimir Putin last month and asked each other not to attack the opponent’s critical infrastructure, the U.S. also ransomware information security threats, to the level of national security threats equivalent to terrorist attacks, recently Swedish companies have also been reported by ransomware attacks frequently, Taiwan should pay more attention to this.