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Ransomware attacks a pressing threat to world in 2021

Cybersecurity firm FireEye sounds alarm on increasingly sophisticated malware campaigns

Michael Chue, Vice President and General Manager of FireEye's North Asia branch (FireEye photo)

Michael Chue, Vice President and General Manager of FireEye's North Asia branch (FireEye photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.S.-based cybersecurity company FireEye has released a report on the latest internet security trends, which shed light on the ever-growing threat of ransomware.

Titled “A Global Change: Cyber Security Predictions 2021,” the report suggests that ransomware attacks are likely to occur with higher frequency and greater potency next year. The risk has been underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has triggered a spike in online activity and exposed vulnerabilities in public and corporate networks.

Reports surfaced earlier this month that a host of Taiwanese companies have succumbed to malware campaigns that saw their systems hacked, causing significant damage. Tech firms including Foxconn, Compal Electronics, Advantech were among the victims, reportedly facing up to NT$1 billion (US$35.5 million) in ransom demands.

A worrisome trend has been the constantly-transforming ransomware tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs), and the rise in ransomware-as-a-service (RAAS) operations employed to mount one-time or repeated attacks, said Michael Chue (徐海國), Vice President and General Manager, North Asia at FireEye.

Malicious actors have targeted critical infrastructure and sensitive data for lucrative ransom demands. Also worrying is the heightened activity to jeopardize existing operational technology (OT) involved in running infrastructure facilities, which has inflicted damage amounting to tens of millions of dollars in ransom demands, he observed.

With the advancement of mobile devices and the roll-out of 5G services, the need for cloud storage, computing, management, and control related services has grown stronger, Chue stressed.

It is paramount that companies and organizations enhance their cybersecurity mechanisms to ward off hacks through means like phishing, he said. This can serve to better protect against login credentials and confidential data thefts as well as other system breaches, so as to maximize cybersecurity investment returns.

FireEye provides services spanning innovative security technologies, intelligence on threats from nation-state actors, as well as Mandiant IT security solutions. It has a clientele of over 9,300 firms from 103 countries and areas, 50 percent of which are listed on the Forbes Global 2000.

An expert in detecting malicious online campaigns and the perpetrators, FireEye is committed to investing in answering customers’ evolving needs.

Ransomware attacks a pressing threat to world in 2021
(FireEye image)