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Philippines is 4th in the world in highest number of online threats in 2019

The Philippines was the fourth country in the world with the highest web threat detections in 2019, seven notches higher than its previous ranking of 11th.

According to cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, its technologies monitored and prevented nearly 28 million internet-borne attacks against users in the Philippines.

This accounts for 44.40% of Kaspersky users in the country — 26.62% were individual users, and 7.58% were business users.

For the period, the most web threat detections were recorded in Nepal, Algeria, and Albania.

The Philippines was then followed by Djibouti, Mongolia, Belarus, Tunisia, Bangladesh, and Azerbaijan.

"As far as web threats are concerned, among the noticeable changes we’ve seen in the region reflect the same scenario worldwide — strong activity of web-miners in the beginning of the year followed by a dropdown," said Yeo Siang Tiong, general manager for Kaspersky Southeast Asia.

"There was also a growth of online skimmers that we’ve recorded. In the case of local threats, the overall situation in SEA is the same — there’s a drop in the number of cryptocurrency miners and a slight decrease in crypto ransomware," he elaborated.

Despite this, Kaspersky reported that there were only 1.5 million malicious hosting incidents monitored and blocked in the Philippines in 2019 from 2 million in 2018.

"In the Philippines, we believe the stern warnings against the use of cryptocurrencies and the newly enacted law which imposes harsh penalties against bank account fraudsters and credit card skimmers, are among the possible reasons for the changes in numbers," said Tiong.

Under Republic Act No. 11449 (An Act Providing for Additional Prohibitions To and Increasing Penalties for Violations of Republic Act No. 8484, otherwise known as the 'Access Devices Regulation Act of 1998') which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in August 2019, anyone found hacking a bank's system and skimming more than 50 cards will face life imprisonment and will have to pay fines from P1 million to P5 million.

"Despite these though, we can’t drop our guards and be complacent," said Tiong.

"The overall increase in awareness and level of security among individual Internet users and businesses only means that typical attacks will be more difficult to carry out. And we see that cybercriminals will intensify their efforts towards social engineering tactics more and will veer away from PCs to focus on attacking mobile devices and other internet-connected hardware," he added. —Jon Viktor Cabuenas/KG, GMA News