Many Firms In Asia Have Been Impacted by Cyberattacks

Many organizations in Asia are not well protected from cyber attacks, according to a security firm in the United States report. A one-year investigation by Mandiant showed that the average time between breaking in and being caught was 520 days – three times longer than the global average. The report said that Asia is also 80 Percent more likely to be a target for hackers than any other region of the world.

As mentioned, an average of 3.7 Gigabytes of data was stolen in each attack. The stolen data can be in the form of tens of thousands of documents. However, most incidents are not made public because the Asian region does not have laws regarding document disclosure. Grady Summers, chief technology officer of Mandiant’s parent company FireEye, called the findings “deeply worrying”.

“We know the response to cyber incidents in Asia often left behind other regions, but previously we didn’t know it was this severe,” the man told the BBC.

As part of the research, Mandiant hacked into the network of one of the organizations with permission to find out how vulnerable the network was.

“Within three days, we had all the important information,” Summers said. “If a group of hackers can do the same thing in three days, imagine what they could do in 520 days.”

The Risks of National Threats

That’s why companies desperately need a change. There should be an audit of their security system. Not only are they trying to get better in data storage, but they should also have a task to get dedicated IP. With it, their actual location will be hidden and unknown. At least, it could make an effort to breach them way harder than before.

Mandiant has published reports on global security for the past six years, but this is the first time they have focused on Asia. The study included vulnerability tests on about 22,000 computers in various sectors.

Mandiant warned that undiscovered or unreported breaches for a long time could weaken a country’s economic competitiveness or security. Hackers can take over key infrastructure such as power plants, which was the case in Ukraine, and even transportation systems in so-called “smart cities.”

At the consumer level, personal information can be used for fraud. Earlier reports from security firm Symantec revealed that more than 500 digital identities were stolen or disclosed in the last year.

State-sponsored attacks Mandiant estimates that most cyberattacks in Asia are government-protected and target areas of increasing geopolitical pressure, such as the South China Sea.

Governments, financial institutions, energy, educational research, health insurance, aerospace, and security have “long been favorite targets” of hackers looking to destroy or use stolen data for extortion, he said.

There has been a decline in the number of attacks in the US and western Europe from Chinese hackers, Summers added, as China appears to be refocusing its efforts on the region in Asia.

Some Examples

A number of government agencies and companies said they were hit by the WannaCry cyberattack on Monday, while cybersecurity experts warned of the possible wider impact.

The virus, which has hit hundreds of thousands of computers in factories, hospitals, and schools in 150 countries, works by locking access to computer files and spreading via email. To unlock it, the affected party has to pay a ransom. There is still the possibility of further spread in Asia, given that new company workers open an email on weekdays, according to Michael Gazeley, managing director of Network Box, a cybersecurity services company based in Hong Kong.

In China, energy giant PetroChina admitted to having payment system problems at a number of their gas stations due to the WannaCry virus. A number of state government agencies, including the police, have also reported being hit by similar attacks.

In Japan, the National Police Agency said there were two attacks on Sunday, at a hospital and an individual. There was no material loss in either case.

Hitachi Ltd. Company. also admitted that the WannaCry cyber attack had infected their computer system, so they could not receive or send emails in some cases.

In other countries, some companies ask employees not to open links or attachments to their emails. One school in South Korea even banned students from using the Internet. South Korea’s presidential office said there were nine cases of the WannaCry virus in the country.


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