Chennai records highest number of cyberattacks in India, says report

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Published: June 24, 2020 6:15 AM

Experts at K7 Labs predicted that the number of Covid-19-themed attacks and complex Trojan attacks would continue to increase in the next quarter.

Threat actors continued to exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software and operating systems in the quarter.Threat actors continued to exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software and operating systems in the quarter. (Representative image)

Chennai recorded the highest number of cyberattacks in the country in Q4FY20, with 42% infection rate (IR), followed by Patna at 38% and Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kolkata at 35% each.

Cyber security major K7 Computing’s, Cyber Threat Monitor Report, which provides a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the cyberattack landscape in India, reported that Chennai recorded the highest number of cyberattacks in the country in its analysis of the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.
The report found that among Tier-I cities, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kolkata recorded soaring rates of infection, while among the Tier-II cities, Patna registered the highest infection rate at 38%, followed by Guwahati, Jammu and Bhubaneswar.

These attacks were designed to exploit user trust and scam people for financial gains. In Tier-I cities, threat actors predominantly targeted SMEs, by exploiting their vulnerabilities caused by the sudden shift to work from home mode. Besides, SMEs are still ill-equipped to handle cyberattacks. However, the report found that there was an 8% decrease in the overall rate of cyberattacks in the country the fourth quarter, in comparison with the previous quarter.

Threat actors continued to exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software and operating systems in the quarter. Windows XP and Windows 7 were the most at risk as Microsoft had stopped providing updates and patches to these versions. The report revealed that attacks by rootkits like Curveball, Remote Code Execution, phishing attacks based on Cocid-19 trends, and DOS attacks were popular. Complex USB attacks also saw an increase — popular among these were crypto mining malware.

J Kesavardhanan, founder and CEO of K7 Computing, said:”We are seeing an increasing trend of threat actors targeting enterprises with complex viruses, Trojans, and even ransomware. On an individual-level, the current risk-facing users are fake apps, Covid-19 apps infected with malware, and phishing attacks. The most worrying of all is the new trend of many advanced threat actors offering malware as a service to cybercriminals.”

Experts at K7 Labs predicted that the number of Covid-19-themed attacks and complex Trojan attacks would continue to increase in the next quarter. This would be further exacerbated by the increase in threats from amateur attackers, who purchase malware-related services to attack various individual and enterprise targets. To help mitigate these threats, experts at K7 Computing advised netizens to keep their systems updated with the latest patches, avoid using pirated software, install and use a reputed antivirus product, and practice proper digital hygiene.

The report further revealed that gone were the days when malware attacks were solely associated with Windows-driven desktop and laptops. The mushrooming of smartphones and umpteen other reasons have made the smartphone market a lucrative hotspot for threat actors. The prevalent number of malware families, affecting Android and iOS platforms, is definitely a cause for concern, it said.

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