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The 22nd issue of the bi-annual Microsoft Asia Pacific Security Intelligence Report (SIR) came out recently and named the 13 most vulnerable countries to malware or software security attacks. The SIR stated that emerging markets in the Asia Pacific region are particularly vulnerable. Bangladesh currently sits at the top of the list with a 26.6 percent encounter rate. Meanwhile, the report deemed the Philippines to be 8th on the list with a 19.2 percent encounter rate as of March 2017. Drive-by download sites, in particular, were discovered to play a large part in the spread of malware in the country.
Unwitting users fall victim to these drive-by download sites that look like the real deal but which contain fake or infected material. When citizens mistakingly download the fake software being passed off as real, they end up installing malicious malware onto their computers, thus causing many issues.
Vietnam is number five on the SIR list, and sitting at 11 of the most vulnerable to malware attacks is Korea. However, when dealing with ransomware attacks Korea was up at Number 2.
Malware is a crunched term for ‘Malicious Software’. It is particularly designed to obtain access to an owner’s computer by tricking him into installing a certain software. It can track what a user is accessing on his computer and can cause damages that he might be completely unaware of. Malware is mostly seen in the forms of keyloggers, viruses, worms, or spyware.
Ransomware is basically a type of malware that locks your computer and prohibits you from accessing it until you pay a demanded ransom. It is generally demanded in the form of Bitcoins. Nowadays, instead of locking a user’s keyboard or computer, individual files are encrypted using a private key that only the ransomware authors know. However, there is no guarantee that paying the ransom will unlock your computer.
According to the recent SIR, weak and easily figured-out passwords, not keeping passwords safe or updated are major culprits of the vulnerability for the countries on the new list.
Security and IT experts say it’s best to limit working on public networks as well as to mind security patches with regular updates. It would also be prudent to do one's own research and become more knowledgeable about IT security.