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Taiwan hit hard by ransomware attacks in 2017

2018/03/08 19:25:14

Image taken from Pixabay

Taipei, March 8 (CNA) Taiwan was one of the worst hit countries by ransomware attacks in 2017, falling victim to millions of attacks, according to Trend Micro's annual security roundup.

Trend Micro Inc., a leading global software security company, found in its "2017 Annual Security Roundup: The Paradox of Cyberthreats" that companies worldwide suffered damages totaling up to US$5 billion due to massive ransomware outbreaks.

This figure is four times the level recorded in 2016, though the number of ransomware-related threats decreased from 1.078 billion to 631 million from 2016 to 2017.

Although there were fewer ransomware events in 2017, they had greater impact, the company noted.

One such worldwide event was the WannaCry ransomware attack that was estimated to have affected over 200,000 computers in 150 countries in May 2017.

Taiwan was one of the countries targeted by the malware, with its National Security Bureau reporting that 185 computers in the country were infected by WannaCry.

Other features of the 2017 attacks are the tendency to use business email compromises (BEC), which are scams targeting companies where the hacker impersonates an executive and requests wire transfers or sensitive information via email, and the focus on cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

According to Trend Micro, the growing popularity and profitability of cryptocurrencies has led cybercriminals to target the field.

The report warned companies who need to comply with the European Union's newly passed General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP) to double down on cybersecurity measures as cybercriminals could target them knowing they have to pay a fine for any instances of leaked data.

Cybercriminals could steal data from such companies and charge a ransom for it that is just below the fine they would be required to pay based on the GDRP, Trend Micro noted.

As Jon Clay, the company's marketing manager commented, 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. As a result, corporations need to protect themselves with the newest versions of cyber protection software in order to minimize risk.

(By Kuan-lin Liu and Jeffrey Wu)