Trend Micro warned that 2016 is the year of online extortion, citing the rise of ransomware as the key factor in increased cyberthreats. Speaking at the inaugural Cybercrime 2016 summit, Trend Micro APAC director Dhanya Thakkar highlighted the latest threats on the landscape, and what to look out for.
According to analysis from the security company, there has been a marked 172-percent increase in ransomware families in the first half of 2016. Some 79 new types of ransomware have been discovered during this time.
Ransomware has also been shifting its target away from individual users. Cybercriminals have noticed that businesses are often more likely to pay the ransom to unlock their computers. Unfortunately, Thakkar notes that many companies do not report the attacks. Instead, they would rather pay the ransom to regain control of their systems and continue without informing the public.
Despite this practice, the company noted that there were close to 100,000 threats recorded in the first half of 2016.
In addition to the ransomware, cybercriminals are also deploying a new low tech attack targeting businesses. Called Business Email Compromise, or BEC, it involves monitoring communications between businesses and their clients for any potential money transfer. The attackers then impersonate C-level executives and direct the finance department to wire funds to a particular account. Alternatively, the criminals will impersonate the clients and send phony invoices.
Interestingly, Malaysia is in the top 10 countries where BEC attackers create bank accounts. Thakkar does not have any insight as to why cybercriminals choose to operate from Malaysian banks, but the location is usually only the first stop before it is transferred to a safer account.