Cybersecurity spending to rise

Cybersecurity spending by the public and private sectors will remain brisk this year, fuelled by the national e-payment scheme and several recent hacking attacks against government websites.

“The public sector, financial, telecom and manufacturing industries will continue to be the country’s four biggest spenders this year,” said Piyatida Tantrakul, country manager of Trend Micro Thailand, the local operating unit of the Japanese security software firm.

Spending on hybrid cloud security protection for data centres, computer network defence solutions and end-user device security will be in high demand to cope with the growth of cloud computing and the proliferation of mobile devices.

Khongsak Kortrakul, senior technical manager of Trend Micro Thailand, said malware or ransomware threats (in which hackers ask users for money in exchange for unlocking their computer systems) will continue to grow, as hackers can earn US$17,000-$30,000 (0.65-1 million baht) per victim.

“Globally, we predict 25% growth in the number of new ransomware families in 2017, translating to an average of 15 new families discovered each month,” he said.

Trend Micro sees ransomware becoming an increasingly common component of data breaches. Cybercriminals will first steal confidential data to sell in underground markets, then install ransomware to hold data servers hostage, doubling their profits.

Mr Khongsak said hackers this year might also employ more of a social engineering technique to lure employees via email to transfer money, using what the industry calls Business E-mail Compromise (BEC) — a sophisticated scam targeting companies working with foreign businesses that regularly perform wire transactions.

In 2016, Trend Micro had five cases involving BEC victims. Globally, cybercriminals can earn up to $140,000 from one BEC victim.

Mr Khongsak said hackers will also continue to target the Internet of Things.

Meanwhile, he said Adobe software outpaced Microsoft for the first time in 2016 in terms of vulnerability discoveries.

“Thailand was among the top five countries in Asia that were attacked through Adobe’s Flash Player,” said Mr Khongsak.

Trend Micro predicts more discoveries of software flaws in Adobe and Apple products this year, in addition to Microsoft’s.

Apart from the fact that Microsoft’s PC shipments have declined in recent years, the vendor’s security improvements will also make it more difficult for attackers to find vulnerabilities in its operating system, said Mr Khongsak.

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