Cyberattacks targeting the devices of work from home (WFH) employees in Southeast Asia increased in the remote work set up during the pandemic, Kaspersky, a global cybersecurity firm reported.
According to the firm, attacks against the “remote desktop protocol” (RDP) have spiked in the region by 149%. The cyberattacks recorded were 65,651,924 in 2019 but ballooned to 214,054,408 in 2020, when most employees switched to WFH setup.
Cyberattacks declined in 2021 when employees were allowed to work in a flexible setup giving them an option to work in-person or online.
The RDP is Microsoft’s proprietary protocol that enables a user to connect to another computer through a network of computers running the Windows software.
According to Kaspersky, this is also being used by intruders to penetrate other computers that usually store important corporate resources.
The cybersecurity firm said the incorrectly configured computers have also been the cause of its vulnerability to cybercriminals. This is due to the haste production of the devices to be made available for employees during the first wave of COVID-19 lockdowns.
“The experience during the pandemic has put forth a collective clamor all over the world to shift to a hybrid work setup. Sectors such as finance, information, management, and professional services have shown to benefit from working and collaborating remotely,” Yeo Siang Tiong, Southeast Asia general manager of Kaspersky, said in a statement.
Countries like Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia have experienced the most number of attacks against their RDP since the year 2019.
The Philippines, on the other hand, experienced the peak attacks in the year 2020 with 6,979,713 reported attacks or 141.24% increase.
However, Tiong said the increase in attacks on the software is common in the region. He urged the companies to take necessary precautions to combat these RDP attacks.
“The hike in RDP attacks during this period is not unique to the SEA region. Globally, this type of threat rose 120% from 2019 to 2021. Given that remote work is here to stay, we urge companies to seriously look into securing their remote and hybrid workforce to protect their data,” he said.