Financial gain is still the top motivation for hackers and scammers in the Philippines, Israel-based cybersecurity and threat intelligence firm Cyberint said.
Yochai Corem, Cyberint CEO, also said it does not matter if it’s an individual or a corporate entity, hackers and scammers will always try to extract money from victims.
On a global level, Corem said hackers may be motivated by securing “sensitive” or classified information.
The cybersecurity firm, which has been operating in the Philippines, recently held a security forum and presented a threat landscape in the Philippines.
Cyberint noted that hackers (mostly “infostealers”) have turned to “vishing” and “smishing” to lure Filipinos to divulge personal information, and worst, to take control of personal accounts, found in e-wallets, etc.
“Vishing” is the fraudulent practice of making voice or phone calls or leaving voice messages meant to look like these messages came from reputable companies, “smishing” involves mass sending of SMS and urging individuals to click on suspicious URLs.
The suspicious websites then “harvest” personal information from an unsuspecting victim.
One good news is that “smishing” and “vishing” may now be on the downturn, with the SIM Registration Law, Cyberint said.
However, company said hackers always have “phishing” as an alternative. Phishing differs from vishing as it involves sending fraudulent emails urging the recipient to click a malicious link which can then be used to target personal information.
The company further said “there seems be no signs that phishing will slow down,” not just in the Philippines, but globally as well.
In terms of victim count, Cyberint estimated that the number of Filipinos victimized by such threats in 2023 have risen to more than 100,000, which is double than the figure in 2022.
The Philippines, unfortunately, is also among the Top Ten targets in the world when it comes to infostealers.
Corem, meanwhile, said the company will continue investing on manpower and training in the Philippines. It currently has about 10 threat analysts, which he said, have undergone extensive training in Israel.
Corem said it is always better to have Filipinos as analysts because they will have a better understanding of the threats coming from local scammers and hackers. He also said the Philippines has been an excellent source of talent, as far as cybersecurity and threat analysis are concerned.