Microsoft has released findings from the latest edition of its Security Endpoint Threat Report 2019 which placed India among countries with the highest cryptocurrency mining encounters and drive-by download attacks. Findings were derived from an analysis of diverse Microsoft data sources including 8 trillion threat signals received and analysed by Microsoft every day, covering a 12-month period from January to December 2019.
According to the report, Asia Pacific continued to experience a higher-than-average encounter rate for malware and ransomware attacks — 1.6 and 1.7 times higher than the rest of the world respectively.India registered the seventh-highest malware encounter rate across the region at 5.89 per cent in the past year. This was 1.1 times higher than the regional average.
The report also found that India recorded the third-highest ransomware encounter rate across the region which was two times higher than the regional average. This was despite 35 per cent and 29 per cent decrease in malware and ransomware encounters respectively over the past year.
“While overall cyber hygiene in India has improved, we believe there is more to be done,” said Keshav Dhakad, Group Head and Assistant General Counsel for Corporate, External and Legal Affairs at Microsoft India.
“Consumer education is important. Users should regularly patch and update programmes and devices and be able to identify unsafe websites and illegitimate software.”
India’s cryptocurrency mining encounter rate showed a 35 per cent decrease from 2018 but was still 4.6 times higher than the regional and global average. The country recorded the second-highest encounter rate in the Asia Pacific after Sri Lanka, according to the report.
India together with Hong Kong and Singapore continued to face high drive-by download attack volume. The drive-by download attack volume in the Asia Pacific declined 27 per cent from 2018.
These attacks involve downloading malicious code onto an unsuspecting user’s computer when they visit a website or fill up a form. The malicious code that is downloaded is then used by an attacker to steal passwords or financial information.
Despite the general decline across the region, the report found that India recorded a 140 per cent increase in attack volume. Together with key financial hubs Singapore and Hong Kong, India experienced an attack volume that was three times higher than the regional and global average.