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New variety of cyberthreat emerges

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While businesses are faced with increased ransomware, business email compromise (BEC) scams and Internet of Things (IoT) attacks, they now also have to contend with new threats such as cyberpropaganda.

This is one of the findings in Trend Micro’s 2017 Midyear Security Roundup: The Cost of Compromise, detailing the threats from the first half of 2017.

Trend Micro detected more than 82 million ransomware threats in the first half of the year, along with more than 3 000 BEC attempts, reinforcing the need for security prioritisation. Despite the rising percentage of security spending in IT budgets, a recent analyst report by Forrester notes that funds are not properly being allocated to address the growing threats facing enterprises today.

“Enterprises need to prioritise funds for effective security upfront, as the cost of a breach is frequently more than a company’s budget can sustain,” says Max Cheng, CIO of Trend Micro. “Major cyberattacks against enterprises globally have continued to be a hot-button topic this year, and this trend is likely to continue through the remainder of 2017. It’s integral to the continued success of organisations to stop thinking of digital security as merely protecting information, but instead as an investment in the company’s future.”

In April and June, the WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks disrupted thousands of companies across multiple industries world-wide. The global losses from the attack, including the resultant reduction in productivity and cost of damage control, could amount to as much as $4-billion. In addition, BEC scams raised the total of global losses to $5,3-billion during the first half of 2017, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

As predicted, January through June experienced a rise in IoT attacks, as well as the spread of cyberpropaganda. In collaboration with Politecnico di Milano (POLIMI), Trend Micro showed it is possible for industrial robots to be compromised, that could amount to massive financial damage and productivity loss, proving that smart factories can ill-afford to dismiss the importance of securing these connected devices. There was also an increased abuse of social media with the rise of cyberpropaganda.

Given the tools available in underground markets, the spread of Fake News, or bad publicity, will cause serious financial ramifications for businesses whose reputation and brand equity is damaged by cyberpropaganda.

Trend Micro XGen security provides proactive protection and guidance for companies facing these pressing and growing threats with a cross-generational approach to threat defence. The threats that have manifested throughout the beginning of 2017 are only a fraction of what is likely to come. Cybercriminals are getting smarter with their attacks every day and companies should be prepared by having the appropriate budgets and solutions in place.