Taiwan among top 5 Asia Pacific targets of ransomware attacks

07/01/2021 10:25 PM
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Pixabay photo for illustrative purpose only
Pixabay photo for illustrative purpose only

Taipei, July 1 (CNA) Taiwan is one of five countries in the Asia Pacific that have seen the largest percentage increases in ransomware attacks over the past 18 months, from before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic to the present day, according to a data analysis report unveiled by Microsoft Corp. Thursday.

During the period, the malware encounter rate in the Asia Pacific has increased 19 percent on average, while the ransomware encounter rate in the region has spiked an average of 240 percent, according to the analysis provided by Microsoft Defender Antivirus' telemetry data traffic.

Meanwhile, the malware encounter rate in Taiwan has increased 16 percent, while the ransomware encounter rate has jumped 407 percent over the past 18 months, according to the telemetry-retrieved data.

The other four countries to record the largest increases in ransomware encounter rates over the past 18 months are New Zealand (825 percent), Japan (541 percent), China (463 percent) and Australia (453 percent), according to the data.

The study covers 15 Microsoft markets in the Asia Pacific, which also includes Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

Hackers launch an average of 50 million password attacks every day, or 579 per second. Microsoft intercepted and thwarted a record-breaking 30 billion email threats last year and estimates that the cost of cybercrime to the global economy will reach US$8 trillion by 2022, according to the report.

While the Asia Pacific has encountered ransomware attacks 2.4 times more frequently than before the COVID-19 pandemic began 18 months ago, attacks in Taiwan are nearly two times higher than the regional average rate, indicating that the country needs to further bolster cybersecurity, said Chu Yi-fang (朱以方), an executive from Microsoft Taiwan.

(By Jeffrey Wu and Evelyn Kao)

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