FBI says PH is 10th most attacked country online

By Edd K. Usman

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said the Philippines ranks 10th in the world among cyberattack victim countries.

FBI supervisory special agent Joshua Farlow

FBI supervisory special agent Joshua Farlow

The US is not included in the ranking of the 2016 Top 20 Foreign Countries by Victim (of cybercrime), which Manila-based FBI supervisory special agent Joshua Farlow presented recently in a cybersecurity conference.

As gleaned from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), the most attacked countries are:

1. Canada
2. India
3. United Kingdom
4. Australia
5. France
6. Brazil
7. Mexico
8. China
9. Japan
10. The Philippines
11. Germany
12. South Africa
13. Turkey
14. Spain
15. Hong Kong
16. United Arab Emirates
17. Malaysia
18. Singapore
19. Nigeria
20. New Zealand

Farlow showed the list during a keynote lecture he delivered at Trend Micro’s “Decode 2017: Transforming Security” held in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City.

His report showed that instead of being contained, cybercrime is getting even more pervasive. Figures from Farlow’s presentation revealed that in 2021, cybercriminals will bleed the global economy at an estimated $3 to $6 trillion.

He said in 2015, the global cost to the economy of cybercrime stood at $158 billion. In 2016, this jumped to $450 billion, said Farlow, who is assigned at the US Embassy in the Philippines as a cyber assistant legal attaché (ALAT).

In his presentation on November 29, Farlow, one of the more than eight ALATs the FBI posted since 2011 in various countries, discussed the FBI’s “Perspective on the Ever-Changing Threats in the Cybercrime Landscape”.

The FBI special agent is in Manila on a special assignment as the FBI’s representative on the Joint Cyber Security Working Group (JCSWG). The JCSWG is a partnership between the US Embassy, the Philippine government, and private sector companies. Its objective is “to promote cooperation and knowledge-sharing on cybercrime and cybersecurity best practices.”

Data from the IC3 revealed that the crime types in 2016 included personal data breach, identify theft, harassment/threats of violence, credit card fraud, corporate data breach, ransomware, IPR/copyright and counterfeit, gambling, and hacktivism.

Farlow’s presentation also showed that Business Email Compromise (BEC) is another profitable criminal activity for hackers, with the US losing $84 million every month and $200 million globally. Total global loss from BEC, he said, as of May 2017 reached $5.3 billion.

The FBI agent said in a BEC attempt, hackers “impersonate a business person and then direct the financial department/person to wire money on the pretense of legit business deal.”

There are steps to thwart BEC attempts, he said, such as avoiding free email accounts, being careful on postings on social media, being suspicious of requests for immediate action, not using “Reply” when answering emails but using “Forward” and typing the email address, using two-factor identification method by calling, and speaking to a trusted source.

FBI Top 20 countries as victims

In the same event, Cherif Djerboua, Trend Micro regional head for Asia Pacific and Middle East, shared that these are “turbulent times” in the digital era for organizations.

Data records are easy targets for cybercriminals, he indicated. Since 2013, Djerboua said, 9,198,580,293 data records were either lost or stolen online.

Breaking down the frequency of data records being lost or stolen, here’s what the figure will show: 5,133,136 every day, 213,881 every hour, 3,565 every minute, and 59 every second.

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