Managing cyber risks in an interconnected world can be a daunting task. While the Internet has revolutionised the world in so many positive ways, sometimes it really does feel like we have created a monster. The new technology might have made societies interconnected and ‘smart’, unfortunately the medium being embraced boldly has also given more opportunities for criminals to thrive, as they evolve their cyber attacks and endanger businesses, while moving closer to homes and individuals through mobile technology. After all, cyber criminals always go where the money and the users are, isn’t it?
If a report from F-Secure, a Finland-based online security firm, is to be believed then New Delhi was the top malicious city in 2014. Not only that, the company’s report titled ‘The state of Internet in India’, says that Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Chandigarh were the top malicious cities in the country. Specifically on the mobile front, Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh, Chennai and Gurgaon were the top mobile infected cities in the country.
Without doubt, the past year has been an interesting one in the world of cyber security, said Pekka Usva, vice-president, Corporate Security, F-Secure. “Malware trends and the state of mobile threat landscape in places like Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Hyderabad and Chennai show that these cities are the focal point of the attackers. Despite the decline of Downadup/Conficker, infections like Sality, Ramnit and Virtob have continued to mark their presence in the Indian threat landscape over the period of last three years. CY2014 has highlighted many threats and F-Secure has timely highlighted them to keep its existing and prospective users safe.”
Back to the report. Many incidents as highlighted in it show that cybercriminals adapt new trends to continue with their attacks. The F-Secure VP said that the top malware infection in India is still Botnet-related. Hackers manage to own a user’s PC and use them for spamming, DDOS (Type of Denial of Service (DoS) attack) or other malicious activity to make substantial amount of money.
The report also states that banking-related malware has been consistently topping the chart in India. The ‘Ramnit’ malware steals bank user names and passwords and it mostly spreads through USB removable drives. Furthermore, PCs in India are moving away from Windows XP. What was also observed was the decline in Downadup/Conficker infection over the past three years in India.
Sality, Ramnit, Trogan. LNK.Gen, Trogan.Script and Virtob are the top five malicious family detections; and Delhi (20%), Hyderabad (9%), Chennai (9%) and Chandigarh (7%) were the top malicious cities in 2014.
On the mobile front, SMS is still the No.1 reason behind a high number of SMS-related malware in the Android platform in India. This is in line with what the CERT-In (Computer Emergency Response Team of India) found in December of 2014. The mobile malwares are capable of collecting API key, application ID, carrier, device manufacturer, device model, GPS location, international mobile, equipment identity (IMEI) number, network operator, package name and SDK version from your device. Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh, Chennai and Gurgaon have emerged as the top mobile infected cities in 2014.
According to F-Secure’s Usva, cyber security threats today have become increasingly sophisticated and complex. Businesses, however, have not been able evolve at the same pace. As companies move ahead and embrace new technologies such as social, mobile, analytics and cloud services, without fully comprehending the implications these have on the entire enterprise, they are rendering themselves susceptible to an array of cyber-security threats.
One area that businesses in India are increasingly focusing on is enterprise mobility, which enables employees, partners and customers to access and work on the organisation’s technology platforms through any secure enabler (laptops, tablets or smartphones). This is in line with the growing smartphone penetration in the country and the BYOD trend. “While Indian companies are taking measures to tackle threats from mobility, however, there is plenty of room for improvement,” he said.
Meanwhile, F-Secure said it is in discussion with state governments, including Delhi, on the role that it can play in offering secure Wi-Fi access across hotspots located in various cities. F-Secure country manager India and SAARC Amit Nath said, “Governments are looking at offering free Wi-Fi across cities like Delhi and Chandigarh. As more cities adopt Wi-Fi, government has to be careful as public Wi-Fi can be misused by cyber criminals.”