8 ways individuals, enterprises can guard vs cyber attacks

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 13 2017 06:32 AM | Updated as of Oct 13 2017 09:45 AM

MANILA - Cyber attacks are evolving, highlighting the need for governments, businesses and individuals to fortify their online defenses, security experts said.

In the first 6 months of the year alone, security provider Trend Micro said it detected 2.6 million types of malware or virus, including ones that target banks. 

Here's how individuals can protect themselves from such attacks.

1. Protect your account. “Your account is like your online DNA,” said Oiveria. People who use one email or similar passwords across a number of accounts are most vulnerable to cyber attacks. Using different and complex passwords is safer. Keeping your details confidential is also very important. 

2. Confirm and double check. One of the most common cyberattacks is the Business Email Compromise (BEC). When asked to verify details, especially by alleged financial institutions such as banks - always confirm directly with the institution. When asked to send money, it is best to confirm it first before proceeding with the transaction

3. Invest in security solutions. Every organization, regardless of size is attractive to cyber criminals. It is cheaper to invest in security solutions to prevent attacks than dealing with an existing infection. 

“Cybercriminals are always evolving and us, security practitioners we need to look at how we do security, review our strategies so we can be the super heroes that we are,” said Richard Sheng, senior director alliances and strategic channels of Trend Micro Asia Pacific & Middle East Africa.

4. Education. Keeping abreast on current attacks may save individuals from malware, Trend Micro technical communications lead Paul Oliveria told ABS CBN News. 

In the Philippines, there are still those who fall prey to old types of malware, he said.

Experts also shared how large organizations can increase their cyber security. The Asia Pacific is the world's top target for cyber criminals, who take advantage of outdated systems, according to internet security provider Trend Micro.

APAC, a transnational enterprise hub with outdated security systems and a “computing habit” of using public or shared computers, is considered as the most targeted region for cyber threats in 2017. 

With the proliferation of cybercrimes, businesses, health facilities and government institutions are advised to strengthen their security systems to avoid complications.

1. Invest in training security personnel. It is better to “block and prevent rather than detect and respond,” according to Sheng.

The National Privacy Commission also recommends that every company have its own data protection officer to oversee processes and ensure the safety of client information. 

2. For developing countries, Roeland van Zeijst, Global Cybercrime expert from INTERPOL recommends a National Cyber Review to identify the country’s vulnerabilities. The organization offers training in areas such as the Darknet or virtual currencies for nations who are found vulnerable.

3. Report cyber attacks immediately. Van Zeijst also encourages victims to report any suspected attack as soon as possible. There are venues that offer help like the website www.nomoreransom.org.

“This is platform where people should go first when hit by ransom ware. It is a global effort by law enforcement and private industries to fight cyber crimes,” Van Zeijst said. 

The site offers free solutions to identified ransomware.

4. Tap advances in network defense with technologies such as machine learning and network segmentation. It is important for companies to “make it difficult for attackers” to penetrate their system, Sheng said. Using “intelligent” security programs that can protect a company’s core data.

The Philippines is ranked 143rd out of 170 nations as a “Data danger zone” in 2016, according to the National Privacy Commission.

But with increased awareness and the number of security programs available, NPC deputy commissioner Ivy Patdu said she was confident the country's ranking would improve.