China, India top malware 'victims' in Asia Pacific

China and India were the top two "victim" countries in the Asia Pacific, according to a recent Web threat report.

Conducted by Web and mobile security firm Websense, the 2013 Threat Report also ranked Taiwan, Philippines, South Korea, Australia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, and Malaysia as completing the top 10 victim countries.

Worldwide, China (ranked 6), India (7), and Taiwan (10) joined the US, France, the UK, Italy, Turkey, Canada, and Mexico as the top 10 victim countries.

The report said these countries were the top choice as victims for cyber attacks for a variety of reasons or potential factors, including the organisation's industry, location, newsworthiness, or customers.

Organisation-wise, the Websense report noted that cyber criminals have stepped up their attacks on businesses and governments in 2012, resulting in about 70 percent of Websense customers in both sectors receiving a weekly average of 1,719 attacks per 1,000 users. The attacks included Web threats initiated through social media, mobile devices, email, and other attack vectors.


At the global level, the attacks increased by nearly 600 percent in 2012 from 2011 with legitimate Web hosts serving as home to 85 percent of the malicious sites.

"These attacks were staged predominantly on legitimate sites and challenge traditional approaches to security and trust," said Charles Renert, vice president, Websense Security Labs. "The timed, targeted nature of these advanced threats indicates a new breed of sophisticated attackers who are intent on compromising increasingly higher-yield targets. Only proactive, real-time security techniques, that inspect the entire lifecycle of a threat, can withstand the assault and prevent data theft."

Just how the present malware challenge the traditional Web security paradigms are indicated by the report's findings that half of Web-connected malware downloaded additional executables in the first 60 seconds.

The malware have also displayed the tendency to circumvent many behavioural detection systems and anti-virus solutions. "Only 7.7 percent of malware interacted with the system registry," the report stated.

In social media, 32 percent of malicious links used shortened URLs. "Once cyber criminals gain access to a host, they typically hide their own malicious pages deep in the directory tree. This process generates very long and complex Web links that might tip off a wary user. Link shortening solves that problem," the report read.

Many countries in the malware victims list were embroiled last year in highly publicised regional issues such as maritime space disputes as well as the arms race. The stirred up emotions of the netizens poured over the Internet, transforming into vicious cyber-attacks against government and educational institutions of victim countries.

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