Taiwan was one of the countries worst hit by ransomware attacks last year, falling victim to millions of attacks, according to Trend Micro Inc’s (趨勢科技) annual security roundup.
Global software security company Trend Micro found in its 2017 Annual Security Roundup: The Paradox of Cyberthreats that companies worldwide lost up to US$5 billion due to massive ransomware outbreaks.
That is four times the level recorded in 2016, although the number of ransomware-related threats decreased from 1.078 billion in 2016 to 631 million last year.
Although there were fewer ransomware attacks last year, they had greater impact, the company said.
These included the WannaCry ransomware attack, which is estimated to have affected more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries in May last year.
Taiwan was heavily affected by the malware, with the National Security Bureau reporting that 185 computers were infected.
Other features of last year’s attacks were the tendency to use business e-mail compromises — scams targeting companies in which the hacker impersonates an executive and requests wire transfers or sensitive information via e-mail — and the focus on cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin.
The growing popularity and profitability of cryptocurrencies has led cybercriminals to target the field, Trend Micro said.
Companies that need to comply with the EU’s newly passed General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP) should double down on cybersecurity measures, as cybercriminals could target them knowing they would have to pay a fine for any instances of leaked data, it said.
Cybercriminals could steal data from such companies and charge a ransom just below the fine they would be required to pay based on the GDRP, it added.
Cybercriminals are developing new ways to make money from cyberattacks — methods that are targeted and specific so they can optimize the profitability of each attack, Trend Micro marketing manager Jon Clay said.
Companies need to protect themselves with the newest versions of cyberprotection software to minimize risks, he added.
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