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DICT Advises Internet Users to be on the Alert for Cyber Threats

DICT Advises Internet Users to be on the Alert for Cyber Threats

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has advised Internet users to ensure that they are protected from cybercrimes and be circumspect when they receive suspicious online messages, download files or visit Internet websites.

“For instance, if ever you have received emails from your mobile phone or laptop, we advise that you do not open them especially if these came from a very suspicious source. Sometimes these might contain malicious files or viruses,” DICT Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity and Enabling Technologies Allan Cabanlong said in a press briefing at the 2017 Cybersecurity Summit held Thursday at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

“Just to make sure: if someone especially from (someone) you don’t know sends a link through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email, do not open it because probably this file may be a form of virus,” he added.

Malwares or viruses might gain access to an Internet user’s personal information such as bank account, password, mobile phone numbers, etc.

The DICT official made this statement in reaction to the latest results of the Kaspersky Cybersecurity Index which revealed that 50 percent of Filipino digital users remain unaware of online dangers.

According to Kaspersky Lab, around 16,000 Internet-borne malware infections were detected on computers of Filipino users with Kaspersky products from April to June this year.

The reported infections were either acquired by visiting infected websites or downloading malicious files to the computer.

During the summit, Kaspersky Lab security researcher Vitaly Kamluk revealed that the Philippines ranked eighth among countries most attacked by mobile malware in 2016. Fresh data from the Kaspersky Security Network showed that more than 3 out of 10 (34.97%) Filipinos with smartphones have been infected by this type of threat last year.

Kamluk disclosed that for the first time, four Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) are targeting companies and organizations in the country for the past 12 months. These APT groups are Diplomatic Duck, Naikon Kaba1, Tropic Trooper, and Spring Dragon.

An APT is a type of attack which involves organized and sophisticated hacking into the networks of the target company or individual.

“Computer breaches and malware outbreaks are happening nonstop now, the effects are being felt and seen to affect human lives. There is no other way but to create a country with people and organizations concerned, aware and vigilant in protecting themselves and the nation’s cyberspace,” he said.

The DICT, in partnership with Kasperksy, organized the first cybersecurity summit in the country to initiate their collaboration in helping the local business sector understand, evaluate, and strengthen their cybersecurity policies.

The conference aims to promote the sharing of intelligence and technology between public and private sectors to better combat the escalating number of cyberattacks against businesses in the country.

“What we must do is to anticipate these possible cyberattacks with a view of mitigating their effect on people, business and government,” DICT Sec. Rodolfo Salalima reiterated.

Salalima said the DICT will initiate a public information campaign to create awareness on the dangers of cybercrime.

The department will also implement the National Cybersecurity Plan of 2022 that will ensure the protection of government networks, critical infrastructures and individuals. This is seen as the government’s initial step in strengthening the country’s cybersecurity capabilities.

For his part, Stephan Neumier, Managing Director of Kaspersky Lab Asia Pacific, said his company supports the country’s cybersecurity efforts by partnering with educational institutions to advocate its importance to the youth.

“Our experts and engineers are going through the schools educating students on cybersecurity threats and solutions. We can offer the same to the Philippine government. It is important that we should educate the people especially at their early age,” Neumeir said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

He also said that it is planning to hold cybersecurity conferences in colleges and universities.

“As one of the fastest growing economies in the Asia Pacific region, it is undoubtedly high time for the Philippines to tackle cybersecurity seriously. As a private company working with governments and police officers around the world against online crimes, Kaspersky Lab is more than willing to help the Philippine government spread cybersecurity awareness among Filipinos and thwart cybercrimes by sharing our expertise and understanding about information security,” Neumier added. (Aerol B. Patena/PNA)