Helping APAC Curb the Threat of Cyber Attacks

Cybersecurity research reveals a vast increase in ransomware attacks across APAC
With cyberattacks continuing to rise across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, technology advancements are having to intensify to thwart threat actors

Cybersecurity threats across Asia-Pacific (APAC) continue to rise as it becomes more digitally connected. 

The region has faced some unique challenges due to high levels of hybrid working (60%) extending possible attack surfaces outside of enterprise security parameters. In recent years, the more cyberattack-prone industries across APAC have resulted in all aspects of the supply chain being impacted.

Rapid technological advancements on account of disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) have led to more sophisticated cyberattacks impacting businesses throughout the region. However, the technology can also be used as a tool if used responsibly, with businesses focusing on bolstering cybersecurity measures to protect essential company data.

Emerging trends to shape future cyber strategies

Both business and government leaders are interested in emerging trends that they hope will continue to shape future cybersecurity strategies. In order to protect vital services moving forward, organisations are seeking to improve digital defences by training and educating their workforces whilst staying competitive with their digital growth.

According to IBM's 2023 Cost of a Data Breach report, the global average cost of a data breach in 2023 was US$4.45m - a figure that has increased by 15% over a three-year period. Research has shown that, with up-to-date cybersecurity measures and adequate training, organisations are able to prevent bad actors from breaching private data and reduce threat surfaces.

Likewise, cybersecurity incidents increased by more than 80% between 2022 and 2023 in APAC, according to Verizon, highlighting threats continue to grow and impact businesses operating within the region.

APAC is currently facing both new and more sophisticated threats. As reported by Computer Weekly, the region is currently facing job layoffs and budget cuts, leading to skills gaps in AI, machine learning and cloud security. This has led to cybersecurity teams struggling to counter threats, with 58% of respondents to an ISC2 report having witnessed an increase in internal risk-related cyber incidents.

Cyberattackers, or threat actors, employ a broad range of tactics to conduct their criminal activities. These include social engineering, malvertising and phishing via email or QR codes. Likewise, generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI) has been cited as a tool threat actors use to enhance their activities, vehemently misusing the technology.

In order to stay ahead of these crimes, it has been suggested that harnessing the power of AI and other new technologies will help support existing staff. Likewise, partnering with enterprises across APAC will help companies to elevate their cyber readiness and be prepared to counter possible threats.

Ransomware threats continue to rise

Cybersecurity research reveals a vast increase in ransomware attacks across APAC in particular within the past year.

Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents an individual or business from accessing data by encrypting files. Threat actors using this malware often demand payment in order to restore essential files or services, often devastating companies.

Security leader Sophos’ State of Ransomware 2024 survey report found that the average ransomware payment has increased by 500% over the past year. According to the report, organisations that paid a ransom reported average payments of US$2m, which has increased from US$400,000 in 2023.

“Businesses need to critically assess their levels of exposure to these root causes and address them immediately,” comments John Shier, Field CTO at Sophos. “In a defensive environment where resources are scarce, it's time organisations impose costs on the attackers, as well. Only by raising the bar on what's required to breach networks can organisations hope to maximise their defensive spend.”

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