While a physical virus was rampaging across the world last year, virtual ones also reared their ugly heads, with latest research indicating that the finance industry faced the greatest number of digital threats out of all market verticals in the Asia Pacific region during 2020.
This is according to the 2021 Global Threat Intelligence Report by Japanese global systems integrator NTT, which found that during the last calendar year within the region, web-applications accounted for the majority of reported cyber incidents in the finance industry, at 51 per cent.
When combined with application-specific cyber attacks, at 22 per cent, the top two attack types were higher than the global figure of 67 per cent.
The manufacturing industry, meanwhile, was the second-most targeted industry, with reconnaissance activity against it occurring in 30 per cent of incidents — the highest level out of all industries within the region.
Attacks against the education industry in the region were in line with global expectations, but brute force attacks accounted for 25 per cent of all hostile activity against it, which NTT noted was the highest rate of brute-force attacks against any industry in any region or country.
On a global scale, the top three industries targeted were finance, manufacturing and healthcare, with Kazu Yozawa, CEO of NTT’s security division, claiming that attacks seeking out specific victims were on the rise.
“Last year we predicted a surge in targeted, opportunistic attacks and unfortunately, this has proven all-too-true," he said. “While these industries have done their best to maintain essential services throughout disruptive times, the fall in security standards when companies need them most is alarming.
“As services continue to move online and become increasingly digital to account for the new normal, organisations must be extra vigilant in upholding and maintaining best practices in their security,” he added.
In terms of malware family detections in the region, webshells led the pack at 26 per cent, followed by botnets at 25 per cent and Trojans at 21 per cent – leading to a combined total of 72 per cent of all malware in the region.
Breaking down the region into major areas, the most prominent malware in Australia and New Zealand was the Mariposa botnet, while Singapore had the cryptocurrency miner XMR-Stak top its malware leaderboards.