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PH second 'most attacked' by crypto phishing in Southeast Asia —Kaspersky

The Philippines is the second most attacked country of crypto phishing in Southeast Asia in 2022, according to a report from cybersecurity firm Kaspersky. 

Data released by the company on Tuesday showed that crypto phishing attacks detected in the country surged by 169.93% to 24,737 attacks in the past year, only second to Vietnam, which had 64,080 attacks.

Meanwhile, malware attacks detected by the firm declined by 54% to 15,372 in 2022 from 34,010, similar to trends seen within most of the region except for Singapore.

Kaspersky said the figures indicate that cybercriminals have switched to the crypto industry, with an average of 400,000 new malicious files per day being reported, reflecting an increase of 20,000 files per day versus 2021.

According to Kaspersky managing director for Asia Pacific Adrian Hia, scammers are now moving to “more sophisticated” ways of attacks, even as they continue to develop both malware functionality and spread vectors.

Among the new threats are those that target cryptowallets or accounts of popular online gaming platforms, along with "stalkerware" which enables perpetrators to secretly spy on another person’s mobile device.

“They are shifting their attacks away from conventional attacks… The hackers are also moving their attention to where the money is, because this is big money,” he told reporters in a briefing in Makati City.

“That also is because of the ease of accessing cryptocurrency in the Philippines. The central bank of the Philippines has announced and allowed the Philippine market to be a crypto market, just like many other countries,” he added.

Countries, including the Philippines, are looking at implementing rules to regulate cryptocurrencies in the next two years in a bid to take preemptive measures given the increasing adoption of the technology.

Former Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Felipe Medalla then said that a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies would benefit the Philippines, as it is currently part of the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey list, which subjects countries to increased monitoring for “dirty money” risks.

Under the guidelines of the BSP, it only regulates virtual currency exchanges or the conversion or exchange of government-issued currencies into virtual currency.

Authorized virtual currency exchanges in the country include Betur or popularly known as, and Rebittance. —VAL, GMA Integrated News