Kaspersky Cybersecurity Weekend delves into APAC’s Digital Reputation Economy

In Kaspersky’s 6th Cybersecurity Weekend conducted virtually with invited guests from across the region, the renowned global cybersecurity company shared their insights on just how an online reputation is when it comes for people and organisations alike. With an overall theme of ‘Secure Your Digital Reputation’, the virtual conference shared more about the potential impact of this new virtual frontier.

Vitaly Kamluk, Director of Global Research and Analysis (GReAT) for APAC at Kaspersky on Digital Reputation

Vitaly Kamluk, Director of Global Research and Analysis (GReAT) for APAC at Kaspersky.

In East Asia, there were over 1 billion virtual network users as of 2020 with Southeast Asia and South Asia trailing behind with over 400 million users respectively. The introduction of lockdowns in many countries throughout the Asia Pacific region and keeping people at home has also driven them online to shop and socialise.

One of the most visible effects of this pandemic is how it forced everyone, from individuals to the biggest companies, to shift a lot of their activities online. This dependence, triggered by our need to secure our physical health, also pushed us to increase our social media use, either to connect with our distant loved ones, to give support to our community, to entertain ourselves, or to get hold of products and services that we need. Parallel to this trend is the opening of wider doors for cybercriminals to exploit,” says Vitaly Kamluk, Director of Global Research and Analysis (GReAT) for APAC at Kaspersky.

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This increase dependence on the internet along with a literal captive audience that is spending the majority of their time online also means increased opportunities for cybercriminals to unleash their full arsenal of malicious tricks from infected payloads in emails and links, phishing emails and more.

Kaspersky Digital Reputation 2

This situation is also exacerbated by the fact that many organisations have introduced work from home policies. This has often resulted in unevenly implemented security as workers use their own devices to conduct company business or who fail to observe security procedures, resulting in increased cyberattacks away from the safe harbour of a secured company IT network. This has become a literal happy hunting ground for cybercriminals and Kaspersky has noted that:

  • Brute-force attacks on database servers in April 2020 were up 23% 
  • Malicious files planted on websites increased by 8% in April 
  • Network attacks and phishing e-mails increased

From detecting and analyzing 350,000 unique malware samples a day pre-COVID, we currently see a total of 428,000 new samples per 24-hour window. Add the geopolitical events across APAC, the uptick on e-commerce and e-wallet adoption, the continuous remote work set-up and online learning, and the emotional and psychological stresses of the situation, the 2020 threat landscape seems to favor cybercriminals. However, hope is in our hands as we are the controller of our online activities. Improved vigilance to protect our digital identities and assets is necessary,” adds Kamluk.

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This hyperconvergence and increased importance in how people, and companies conduct their interactions online has driven home the importance of ensuring digital reputations are spotless. The perfect example would be obtaining news from a trusted website versus something dodgier. Would you try the likes of www.cnn.com or something else with haphazard spelling and a domain name in an unpronounceable banana republic?

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In a study conducted by Kaspersky, they found that 51% of those polled will not use or buy a product form a brand or company involved in a scandal or negative use. The same 51% also said a companies’ digital reputation is important. Some 41% said that a reputation of the brand’s endorsers – typically celebrities and influencers who push the brand – also affect their view of the brand and 36^ have stopped using products or services from a negatively perceived brand.

From my experience, digital reputation of a company is important. Our hyperconnected community made it easier for consumers to voice out their opinions in favour or against our products and services. This forced us, marketers and companies, to focus beyond closing sales and running campaign, and to know our end-users, put customers’ experience in the middle, and involve them in our decision-making process. Most importantly, in this era of quick postings and virality, it is important for brands to be very honest and be excellent listeners,” says Rafizah Amran, the Deputy Chief Marketing and Communication Officer for Prasarana Malaysia Berhad who was invited to speak at the conference.

Rafizah Amran, the Deputy Chief Marketing and Communication Officer for Prasarana Malaysia Berhad. on Digital Reputation

Rafizah Amran, the Deputy Chief Marketing and Communication Officer for Prasarana Malaysia Berhad

Key takeaways from the Kaspersky 6th Cybersecurity Weekend on Digital Reputation

The key takeaways especially for companies and individuals alike were:

Be mindful

Think of the repercussions of your posts online, towards you and towards others’ reputation

Be very, very careful

Monitor the data you share. Assess the company’s privacy policy. Know if an account is necessary.

Be secured

Individuals’ and companies’ reputation can suffer due to hacking attacks. Ensure holistic security solutions are in place.

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