Severe Upsurge of Ransomware & Vulnerability Threats Found in APAC

Severe Upsurge of Ransomware & Vulnerability Threats Found in APAC

Asia Pacific is one-third of the 1.2 billion ransomware-related threats globally in 1H 2017

 Bangkok, August 25, 2017 – Trend Micro Incorporated (TYO: 4704; TSE: 4704), a global leader in cloud security solutions, today unveiled that Asia Pacific (APAC)[1] had been heavily hit by ransomware in the first half of the year, overshadowing other regions. From January to June this year, Trend Micro blocked more than 1.2 billion ransomware attacks globally; 33.7% of all those befell the APAC region. During the same period in 2016, the region only made up 17.6% of all ransomware attacks. India and Vietnam led the countries with the most ransomware detections in the APAC region.

The data are collected by Trend Micro’s software products and analyzed by the company’s forward-looking trend researchers. The common threats tracked include ransomware, vulnerabilities, exploit kits, malicious URLs, fake mobile apps, online banking malware, macro malware, to name a few.

“The APAC region suffered from cyberattacks disproportionately in the first half of the year, proving that there is still a chasm between cybersecurity awareness and taking action the region has yet to bridge.” said Dhanya Thakkar, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, “The team has been continually constructing a comprehensive threat intelligence database and innovating new products based on the insights we gathered. We have started incorporating machine learning-based smart detection technology into all our software and gleaned good results. We are committed to assisting our APAC customers in ongoing detection and blocking of threats, and also helping them close the cybersecurity gap in their organizations.”

Key APAC Highlights:

  • Ransomware caught on in late 2015, and its popularity has been growing since then. Today, they constitute one of the most formidable cybersecurity threats facing the industry. Based on Trend Micro’s data, ransomware attacks have grown 4,100% in APAC region and 1,305% in Thailand.

Ransomware made it to countless news headlines through the rampant spread of WannaCry and Petya. The vulnerability CVE-2017-0144 was leveraged by the EternalBlue exploit to facilitate massive ransomware infections – in the form of WannaCry and Petya.

The best defense against ransomware is to block them at the source level via web or email gateway solutions. Machine learning in XGen Technology is designed to detect ransomware threats by filtering them through multiple defense methods, leading to effective, comprehensive detection even for newly created, never-seen-before ransomware variants.

  • During this period, more than 436 million malware were populated and discovered in the APAC region, surpassing the numbers observed in all other regions by a huge margin. The top three malware found in Thailand are ANDROM, SALITY, and DOWNAD.

As industrial IoT devices continue to mushroom in APAC, the number of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system vulnerabilities is also increasing, providing fodder for malware attacks. Based on the findings from the company’s Zero Day Initiative program, there exist malware specially made to target these connected systems.

  • Trend Micro also found that more than 47 million mobile malicious apps were downloaded by users in APAC, much more than those from other regions.

In the beginning of 2017, Trend Micro had warned of the rise of malicious fake apps taking advantage of the popularity of mobile games like Pokemon Go, Super Mario, and other faddish apps. The common modi operanti for mobile apps include displaying advertisements that subsequently lead the users to malicious sites, or downloading other apps without the user’s consent. By simply avoiding third-party app stores and “unofficial” or “unreleased” versions of the legitimate apps, users can significantly avert potential malware.

  • Exploit kits are another prominent threat in the APAC region, with a total of 556,542 detected within the six months. An exploit kit is a type of hacking toolkit used by cybercriminals to take advantage of existing vulnerabilities found in systems or devices. The most distributed exploit kits for the first six months are Rig, Magnitude, Sundown, and Nebula. Exploit kits normally target popular software such as AdobeFlash, Java, and Microsoft Silverlight. Some of them can be used to deliver ransomware, such as Rig, Magnitude, and Sundown.
  • APAC, again, leads in the number of detections for online banking malware in the first half of the year, culminating in more than 118,193 malware discovered and blocked, Vietnam and Philippines encountered most of the attacks in ASEAN, Thailand is in 2nd last detection in ASEAN after Indonesia.

New Business Highlights

Trend Micro announced it is leveraging the newest capabilities of XGen™ security to enhance protection of small business endpoints by including machine learning inside all core of Trend Micro Enterprise Security Solutions. XGen security infuses high-fidelity machine learning into a blend of threat protection techniques to best protect against the full range of known and unknown threats across any user activity and endpoint. It constantly learns, adapts and automatically shares threat intelligence across the platforms and applications that matter most to customers.

Trend Micro introduced the Trend Micro TippingPoint Security Management System (SMS) Threat Insights, powered by XGen security. SMS Threat Insights helps enterprise prioritize response measures by quickly understanding the threats affecting the network and identifying which will need immediate attention. This feature release addresses customers’ needs to prioritize security response measures and have increased visibility into current and potential threats affecting their network.

Trend Micro announced the launch of a corporate venture fund to explore emerging technology markets. With an initial investment of $100 million, this venture fund will allow Trend Micro to nurture a portfolio of startups that are developing ideas and living at the epicenter of hyper growth markets, such as the Internet of Things (IoT).

About Trend Micro

Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, helps to make the world safe for exchanging digital information. Our innovative solutions for consumers, businesses, and governments provide layered security for data centers, cloud environments, networks and endpoints. All our products work together to seamlessly share threat intelligence and provide a connected threat defense with centralized visibility and control, enabling better, faster protection. With more than 5,000 employees in over 50 countries and the world’s most advanced global threat intelligence, Trend Micro enables organizations to secure their journey to the cloud.  For more information, visit

[1] Asia Pacific region consists of 20 research markets.