Microsoft exposes Cybercrime threats in Ph

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At the public consultation for the IRR of the Cybercrime law today, Microsoft Trustworthy Computing Group Director Tim Rains revealed the 16th edition of the Security Intelligence Report (SIR).

The report gave an in-depth analysis of the state of cyber security threats in the region, with figures representing the devices in the Philippines. According to the report, one of the most pressing attacks used by cybercriminals in 95% of the 110 countries targeted by the study were deceptive downloads, or those downloads pretending to be legitimate, safe pieces of software. Once on a device, the offending program then wreaks havoc on the machine, often without any discernable negative effects.

Another form of attack present particularly in the West is Ransomware. These either lock down the user’s desktop, or encrypt their files, offering access only when the user pays an unlocking fee. A common tactic of cybercriminals is to have the malware pose as a program from a legitimate police organization punishing the victim for supposed illegal activities. This kind of threat is of particular concern, as it is slowly making its way east, from Europe and the Americas, contributing to a cybercrime increase of 45% between the first and second halves of 2013.

Though the kind of threats are diversifying, with criminal elements relying more on social engineering than outright manipulation of system vunerabilities, keeping yourself protected is not as hard as it may seem. Simple fixes such as upgrading to newer software, selecting a solid anti-virus program, backing up your system, and downloading content solely from trusted sources.

“Keeping cybercriminals on the run requires a robust security strategy,” said Rains. “The safest houses don’t just have locked doors, they have well-lit entry points, and advanced security systems. It’s the same with computer security–the more we layer our defences, the better we are at thwarting attacks.”

The report also showed that the Philippines is one of the most vulerable countries in the world, with infection and encounter number numbers higer than most of our neighbors, as well as those in the rest of the world. There are many tens of factors that determine the vulnerability of a country to attack, but one thing is certain: If people are informed about the both the threat and how to address them, everyone will end up safer in the end.