Microsoft recently unveiled findings that Sri Lanka experienced the highest mining encounters across the Asia Pacific. The latest edition of the Security Endpoint Threat Report involved analyzing diverse Microsoft data sources, including 8 trillion threat signals. Microsoft analyzed these signals every day, covering a 12-month period of 2019. Could this be a worsening hotspot for cyber threats?
Mary Jo Schrade of Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit findings stated that Microsoft’s unique access to billions of threat signals enables them to gather data and insights to inform their response to cyber attacks. They aim at providing a better understanding of cyber threats.
Report Findings Submitted to Microsoft
According to the report, Asia Pacific continued to receive a higher-than-average encounter rate for malware and ransomware attacks. The numbers stood at 1.6 and 1.7 times, respectively. Last year, Sri Lanka recorded the 2nd highest malware encounter rate at 9.07 percent. Even though this was a 14% decrease, it was 1.7 times higher than the regional average.
In 2018, Sri Lanka recorded a 0.46 cryptocurrency mining rate across the region. Despite the 45% decrease in 2019, it remained five times higher than the regional and global average.
During the cyber attacks, the victim’s computers got infected with cryptocurrency mining malware. Criminals could leverage the computing power of their computers without the knowledge of their victims.
More Cyber Threats to Come? Valid Security Measures
Hasitha Abeywardena, Country Manager of Microsoft Sri Lanka, explained that the increased time required to generate cryptocurrency and fluctuations in cryptocurrency value plays a massive role in crypto attacks. He added that attackers are now focusing their efforts on cryptocurrency markets with low cyber awareness and low adoption of cyber hygiene practices.
In a Chainalysis report, hackers successfully breached 11 major cryptocurrency exchanges and stole more than $283 million. Even though there were several attacks, the attackers stole fewer funds than the $875.5 million hackers could make away within 2018.
Chainalysis attributed the rise of attacks to hackers using more sophisticated methods for infiltrating exchanges. Hackers are likely even to develop more sophisticated hacking techniques; hence, exchanges and individuals need to be more cautious and adopt improved security features.
Following recent cyber-attacks, Microsoft called upon businesses and individuals to take action to navigate cyberspace securely. Companies need to use vital tools to safeguard employees and infrastructure by looking into MFA as employees work from home. They should also ensure employee guidelines on how to identify malicious threats to all employees.Individuals are expected to update all devices with the latest security updates, remain alert for unknown senders’ links, and get correct information on phishing attempts recognition.