(Photo courtesy of Kaspersky)

For the entire 2021, Kaspersky products used in the Philippines detected and foiled more than 50 million web threat attempts, according to statistics from the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN).

The latest KSN report released Monday showed the Philippines moved two places up in Kaspersky’s global ranking or fourth overall behind Belarus, Algeria, and Kazakhstan.

In a nutshell, this means Filipinos who have been mostly stuck at home surfing, working, banking, or studying via the web during the second year of the pandemic have had a heightened exposure to further dangers of the Internet.

KSN is the cloud-based threat intelligence service of Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky.

From 2017 to 2021, in the malware-detection history of KSN, the cyber threats detected in the Philippines have gone up sharply by 433 percent, according to a news release.

The monitored cyberthreat attempts logged on devices of Kaspersky users in 2017 were 9,487,775 compared to 50,544,988 in 2021.

In 2021 alone, Kaspersky’s detection systems discovered an average of 380,000 new malicious files daily, reflecting a growth of 20,000 compared to the previous year.

Traditionally, most threats (91 percent) occurred via WindowsPE files, a file format specific to Windows operating systems.

However, last year, cybercriminals also started spreading threats associated with the Linux operating system more actively than ever before.

As a result, the number of detected Linux malware and unwanted software grew by 57 percent.

“Because of the Internet, carrying on with work and school during the pandemic has been significantly possible. The Internet has also provided people a temporary escape from real life during lockdowns. This is true not just for Filipinos but for everyone around the world,” said Yeo Siang Tiong, general manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky.

Web threats are attacks via browsers. Cybercriminals normally use drive-by downloads and social engineering to try to spread malware to devices of Internet users.

A drive-by download infection, which is used in most attacks, happens when visiting an infected website.

In such attacks, cybercriminals use file-less malware, the most dangerous way of infecting a device because it’s such a complicated malware that is difficult to detect and counter.

On the other hand, social engineering attacks are where an Internet user downloads a malicious file onto a computer. This happens when cybercriminals trick the victim into believing she is downloading a legitimate program.

“Throughout this period, until now that we are recovering and adapting to the new normal, we have been seeing nonstop activity from cybercriminals who have been honing their skills. Unfortunately, this means people will be more vulnerable to cyber-intrusion. We cannot stop using the Internet, so we really encourage Filipinos to be extra cautious and really get into the habit of practicing cyber-hygiene. These basic habits remain the same and include regularly scanning devices for viruses, changing passwords, keeping apps, software, and operating systems up to date, and wiping your hard drive,” Yeo said.

The threat-related data shared from computers of Philippine-based participants along with data from other Asia Pacific countries are processed in Kaspersky’s two data centers in Zurich, Switzerland.

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