Four major cyberthreats Filipinos should know about

Lourdes C. Escolano

FILIPINOS spend an average of 10 hours on the Internet daily, this according to reports from social media observers We Are Social and Hootsuite released earlier this year. 

This amount of time spent online increases the exposure to cyberattacks. In fact, the Philippines is in the top 10 most attacked countries in the world with 10.6 million web infections were detected in early 2018.

A recent Microsoft and Frost & Sullivan study reveals that with the frequency of attacks today, a large organization is estimated to lose over $7.5M because of cybersecurity threats. More than the monetary damage, these threats can cause emotional distress and even lead to job loss.

Microsoft’s Security Intelligence report analyzed over 6.5 trillion threats from the Cloud worldwide and identified the top four cyberthreats Filipinos encounter every day.

The first is malware, or “malicious software” is the term used to describe all programs that can disturb, destroy or get access to a computer system without permission. Commonly delivered via social media links, email or even text messages. Malware, It includes cryptojacking, ransomware, and drive-by downloads all of which cause impaired usability, data loss, intellectual property theft, and financial losses. Microsoft reports malware attacks in the country is 124 percent higher than the global average and 63 percent higher than the Asia Pacific region. 

Cryptojacking is the next biggest threat as Filipinos are into investing in Bitcoin, Ethereum, or other cryptocurrencies. The high yield of these digital investments attracts cybercriminals who find creative ways to bypass security measures. These attacks uses gadgets’ resources to mine cryptocurrency, with fast battery drain as one of the most obvious indicators. 

Filipinos are attacked 114 percent more than the APAC region and 150 percent more than the other parts of the world despite cryptocurrency transactions being encrypted, anonymous and almost untraceable.

At number three is ransomware, which is technically malware, but this time, an exchange of money is involved before the files or whole computers and even servers are released to the victim.

According to experts, ransomware is the easiest type of cyberattack and it is to no one’s surprise that this is the most common digital threat. The country remains highly susceptible to these attacks, with incidents 36 percent more than the APAC region.

Drive-by downloads is the fourth in the list. A malicious software code that attacks any app, operating system, or trusted web browser that contains security flaws after undergoing an update drive-by downloads latches on to trusted things and installs itself once it finds a gateway to the system. With this, an innocent download or doing routine update can easily lead to a cyberattack even if one takes extra caution.

The Philippines has 36 percent more DYD incidents than the APAC and 67 percent more versus the global average. According to Microsoft, the best defense against cybercrime is online precaution and vigilance. The best type of protection is acknowledging the danger beforehand and finding ways to avoid them.

More security news

Read more about Microsoft's Security Intelligent report. 

Recently at the Microsoft Ignite Conference, Kirk Koenigsbauer Corporate Vice President, Microsoft 365 and Security, announced new innovations designed to help customers across their security, compliance, and identity needs. 

Read this report that highlights the top 10 announcements:

Trick or treat? Here’s how you can uncover fake news

ALONG with the people going online to look for scary costume ideas and tricks and pranks, there are dark forces lurking all year long, spreading false information online. To avoid getting tricked while navigating the web, it is important to read and #ThinkFirst before sharing any news.

Here are some ways Google can help you smartly identify misinformation online:

1. Cross-reference your news sources: Using Google News, check whether the information has been reported on by reputable media. If the news cannot be corroborated by another legitimate source, it might be false.

2. Check if an image is being used in the right context: Right click on a photo and select “Search Google for Image”. This will look for the picture against an online database to check if it has appeared online before, and in what context, so you can see if it has been altered from its original meaning.

3. Look closely at the URL: Some sites try to look like a reputable media by using similar domain names. This provides credibility to the information you are reading, and provokes a false sense of security that what you are reading is true.

4. Verify a recent topic using Fact Check Explorer: Fact checking uses fact-based verification to determine what is true from what isn’t. These checks are now widely available online, and indexed on the Fact Check Explorer database. If something sounds too good to be true, you know where to check!

5. Search for the article’s references: False stories have an attention-grabbing headline to attract readers, but the article details probably won’t add up. If you can’t verify quoted information (people’s names or organizations), they might have been invented for the story’s purpose.



Raymond G.B. Tribdino

WHEN U.S. President Donald Trump declared, without cause or merit, that security software being used in American government offices was running malware designed to spy on its digital assets, the cybersecurity industry was harshly affected. Kaspersky was hit the hardest because it supplied anti-malware platforms to almost all U.S. government agencies.

“We were hit. But it is not about the money, really,” no less than company CEO Eugene Kaspersky told Malaya Business Insight. “It is about trust, and that, no amount of money can buy.”

Kaspersky then went on to explain briefly why it was the cybersecurity industry in general that has been cast into doubt by Trump’s pronouncements. For him, the only way that the industry can regain trust is to allow customers and interested parties to look into the very source code of every piece of software it has deployed.

This bold move, Eugene said, was not only to ensure that there is no malicious code in its systems, it is also his company adapting to the needs of an ultra-connected world where greater transparency and trust are required. 

Starting from 2018, Kaspersky redesigned its infrastructure and moved from Russia to its first Transparency Center in Zurich, Switzerland. The very location where the company stores and processes some its data, build new software and tests its resiliency, is the most neutral country in the world. It is known for its high level of skill and competence in cybersecurity as well as tough regulations when it comes to trust.

Kaspersky is the first cybersecurity company initiated a move towards transparency and has invited other stakeholders to do the same under a program it aptly calls the “Global Transparency Initiative.” A second transparency center was opened just recently in Madrid, Spain another bastion of neutrality in Europe.

 The third Transparency Center, and the first in Asia Pacific, was set up in Malaysia. In partnership with CyberSecurity Malaysia—the country’s national cybersecurity specialist agency, this code review facility is located in the city of Cyberjaya, alongside key cyber-related government agencies and companies just a quick drive away from Putrajaya which is where Malaysia’s central government is located.

“We need to move from cybersecurity to cyber immunity,” Kaspersky said in his keynote emphasizing on how, like its counterparts in Zurich and Madrid, the Transparency Center in Malaysia will serve as a trusted facility for the company’s partners and government stakeholders to come and check the source code of Kaspersky’s solutions. 

The new center will also function as a briefing center where guests will be able to learn more about Kaspersky’s engineering and data processing practices.

“We have absolutely nothing to hide when it comes to our software. This is why there is so much focus on strengthening this trust by making the very core of the source code open to inspection,” Kaspersky pointed out. 

Government regulators and enterprise clients of Kaspersky can request to review the company’s solutions and services including threat analysis, secure review, and the application security testing process. They can also review the source code of Kaspersky’s flagship consumer and enterprise solutions – Kaspersky Internet Security (KIS); Kaspersky Endpoint Security (KES), and Kaspersky Security Center (KSC), which is a console for the company’s business products.

As well as these, stakeholders can also review all versions of Kaspersky’s builds and AV-database updates as well the information the company processes such as data feeds from Kaspersky products that are sent to the cloud-based Kaspersky Security Network (KSN). Access to the Transparency Center is available upon request. 

“It’s great to be here in Kuala Lumpur—in the heart of the Asia-Pacific region—to announce the opening of our third Transparency Center. Here we intend to show customers and government stakeholders that our products are 100 percent trustworthy and ensure the highest level of cybersecurity protection,” Kaspersky stressed.

As part of the Global Transparency Initiative the company plans to have at least two more transparency centers in Asia, most likely in Japan and China and also in North America. Though no exact details were given Kaspersky’s Managing Director for Asia Pacific Stephan Neumeier indicated that these will happen soon, as discussions were already underway.

“The launch (in Malaysia) also proves that the activities we planned under our pioneering Global Transparency Initiative remain on track,” Kasperky affirmed.

 “As the threat landscape continues to evolve in Malaysia and in the region, we believe that it is crucial for private companies such as Kaspersky and government agencies to build trust and mutual cooperation. Kaspersky’s willingness to open their doors and data processes further shows that they have nothing to hide,” Dato’ Ts. Dr. Amirudin Abdul Wahab, CEO of CyberSecurity Malaysia said.

“We are excited to unlock the doors of this digital hub to let users experience the services and capabilities of Kaspersky’s cybersecurity technology here in our region. We are grateful to Cybersecurity Malaysia for their trust and commitment towards us as this third-party validation proves that private companies and public agencies can team-up to better protect users from cybercrime,” Neumeier concluded.

Learn More

Kaspersky is adapting to the needs of an ultra-connected world. A world in which people and organizations require greater transparency and trust. 

Starting from 2018, we are redesigning our infrastructure and moving the location for where we store and process some of our data, and build new software: the stuff that keeps our customers the world over safe from existing, new and emerging threats.

The 5 cybersecurity tips for your small business

Microsoft Press Office

Microsoft bares cybersecurity tips to Filipino SMEs to celebrate National Cybersecurity Month

A study from Frost & Sullivan and Microsoft revealed that more than half of the organizations in the Philippines have either experienced a cybersecurity incident or are not sure if they had one as they have not performed proper actions or data breach assessment. With Filipinos’ increasingly internet-savvy population, cybersecurity and data protection must be a top priority for small to medium enterprises as much as it is for large scale businesses.

“It is imperative for small to medium enterprises to embrace 21st-century technology in order to survive in the competitive business landscape today," said Microsoft Country Manager,  Andres Ortola. “We, at Microsoft, are committed not only to bring these organizations the right solutions but also the best cybersecurity tips and practices one should take note of when running a business."

In 2017, around 99% of the more than 920,000 registered businesses in the Philippines are considered micro and small enterprises. These SMEs employ less than 100 workers and have assets of PHP15 million or less, excluding the value of the land. Their exponential growth over the years also calls for these small organizations to quickly adapt to digital transformation, as well as adopting cybersecurity practices that would protect their businesses along the way.

As we celebrate the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Microsoft shares valuable tips that would allow SMEs to recognize the dangers and risks of cyberattacks and help organizations better prepare for data breaches. Below are some of the best practices that one's company can consider in improving its defense against cybersecurity threats:

Beware of Phishing

It takes a hacker only 4 minutes long to get into a network and 99 days for businesses to discover that they’ve been breached. Refrain from opening suggested links or never reveal confidential information unless you are certain that the person you are talking to is genuine. Even when you know the person asking,  gauge if they are entitled to sensitive information about yourself.

Beef up your password

Customize your password by making your password longer. The longer the password, the harder it is to crack. Strong and complex passwords should include a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.

Password Protect Everything

It is important for all, and that includes all employees’ phones, laptops, tablets, and files, to set up their accounts with the multi-factor authentication for added security. Multi-factor authentication is a security system that verifies a user’s identity by requiring multiple credentials such as, code from the user’s smartphone, answering security questions, a fingerprint or facial recognition.

Keep your data safe in the cloud

No one likes to lose their data. Back-up all your files to keep and transfer everything behind firewalls into the cloud. Patch everything and keep your systems up to date.

Plan for the Worst

Every small business owner can put an affordable, actionable plan in place to mitigate risk to save time and money. Prevention is just as important as a response plan. Develop action plans with your staff in case something goes wrong.

Investing in digital tools is one thing and applying these best practices is another. Filipino SMEs must realize the need to be aware of all potential cyberthreats and the steps to prevent them. It is never too late to safeguard their businesses accordingly and further grow the company to its full potential without any fear and doubts along the way.



Gregory E. Bautista

 During the first five months of 2019, healthcare organizations were under nearly constant cyberattack attempts ranging from targeted phishing and customized ransomware incidents to more common exploits such as malware and botnets. The examples below serve as a takeaway so that we can learn from what has come before.

Traditional Healthcare Network Threats

One of the most prevalent threats was the Android/Generic.AP malware that targets Android mobile devices. Once installed on a phone, this trojan can capture keystrokes, collect system information, download/upload files, perform denial-of-service attacks, and run/terminate processes. In networks where healthcare providers rely on their mobile devices to provide real-time patient information, compromised phones can become a conduit for introducing additional malware into the network and gaining unauthorized access to patient information.

Botnets have been another challenge so far in 2019. Gh0st RAT is able to take full control of a victim’s machine, as well as log keystrokes and hijack webcam and microphone data. Bladabindi is similar, but it can also steal stored credentials such as usernames/passwords and other PII.

Targeted Attacks

We have also seen a spike in targeted attacks against healthcare networks. Incidences of an older trojan called Kwampirs, that targets the systems of MRI and X-ray machines and siphons their configuration data, have been documented being actively deployed inside specific networks.

SamSam ransomware has also been targeting the healthcare industry, but we are now seeing additional capabilities being developed and additional malware being included with the ransomware payload, which should worry security administrators.

What You Can Do

Four steps to security hygiene

1. The best place to start is with the basics. Best security hygiene practice involves four essential elements:

2. Patch your devices religiously.

3. Update hardware and software when possible.

4. Replace older systems that can no longer be patched or updated.

5. Implement strong proximity controls for systems that cannot be replaced.

You can’t secure what you can’t see

Visibility not only requires seeing every device on your network, but also knowing what they are and the role they play. Here are a few:

1. Mission-Critical Systems – It’s crucial that you understand your mission-critical processes, including critical care areas that cannot withstand downtime. 

Online Assets – Maintain an automatically updated inventory of every asset on your network. Those resources that rely on remote access, such as telemedicine or remote clinics, need extra attention.

2. Extended Infrastructure – You need to not only understand your network topology, but cloud resources such as SaaS applications and infrastructures, as well as remote and branch offices.

Medical IoT – Monitoring or treatment systems need to be identified, tracked, and secured, including mobile devices that move between hospital departments or even into patient homes. 

Segmentation is crucial

Once an attacker manages to gain access to the network, they will continue to drive deeper to achieve their goals. Proper network segmentation can limit lateral movement, thereby slowing down attacks and even discouraging attackers – giving you more time for detection and response. 

Ransomware – not if, but when

Given their user’s preference for healthcare networks, healthcare IT administrators need to assume they will continue to be the target of a ransomware attack. Proper preparation includes an aggressive backup strategy, storing backups and recover systems offline, and running restoration drills so recovery can be fast and effective.

What happens

Once an attacker manages to gain access to the network, they will continue to drive deeper to achieve their goals. Proper network segmentation can limit lateral movement, thereby slowing down attacks and even discouraging attackers – giving you more time for detection and response. 



Gregory E. Bautista, Content Writer

DESPITE  the boom of digital services in the Philippines, a recent study from Microsoft and IDC Asia Pacific, Understanding Consumer Trust in Digital Services in Asia Pacific,revealed that only less than half (44%) of consumers in the Philippines believed that their personal data will be treated in a trustworthy manner by organizations offering digital services. 

Today, almost all transactions and interactions in the Philippines, from organizations and government agencies, to banks and retailers, are becoming digital. At the same time, consumers are becoming more aware of the cybersecurity risks and the risks to the privacy of their personal data, not just from cybercriminals but also from organizations holding on to their personal data. 

The study, which surveyed 454 consumers in the Philippines, asked respondents to provide their opinions on the five elements of trust jointly defined by IDC and Microsoft – namely privacy, security, reliability, ethics, and compliance – when using digital services. 

The data uncovered that more than two out of five (44%) consumers have had their trust compromised when using digital services. Because of this, more than half (57%) of the respondents would switch to another organization, while two out of five (38%) would reduce the usage of the digital service. Close to one-third (31%) of consumers would stop using the digital service altogether. 

“The upside for organizations with a trusted digital platform is tremendous as the Philippines is one of the fastest growing digital services markets in Asia Pacific,” said Andrés Ortolá, Microsoft Philippines’ General Manager. “However, despite consumers’ increasing reliance on digital services, there is still a considerable trust gap that needs to be addressed. Most consumers still do not perceive organizations to be trusted data stewards. We urge business leaders to do more to understand what drives consumer trust and focus on how they can build trust and make it a key competitive advantage for their digital services,” he added.

The study revealed that consumers feel that all five elements of trust are almost equally important to them. Specifically, security (87%), privacy (93%) and compliance (89%) emerged as the top three most important elements. Consumers also have the highest expectations of trust from financial services institutions, followed by education institutionsand healthcare organizations

Trust in Digital Services is Fragile 

As organizations in the Philippines continue to transform their business models, offerings and customer engagement strategies, the range of digital services available to consumers continues to grow in number and variety. 

The data showed that establishing a trusted platform needs to be a priority in organizations’ strategy for digital services as only 6% of consumers prefer to transact with an organization that offers a cheaper but less trusted digital platform. Additionally, almost three out of four (73%) of consumers highlighted that they would recommend a trusted digital service to others even if the cost is higher. 

“Trust is critical for organizations to succeed in this digital world as consumers overwhelmingly prefer to transact with organizations with a trusted digital platform,” said Randy Roberts, IDC Philippines Head of Operations. “As competition between digital services becomes more intense and global in nature, advocacy through word of mouth can be a strong differentiator for the organization and a shot in the arm for the brand.” 

Building Trust in Artificial Intelligence and Digital Services 

As technology continues to transform how we live, work and play, all stakeholders in the industry providing digital services and harnessing the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) should be responsible for fulfilling the five elements of trust with their customers directly. 

However, the responsibility of building trust should not just be on the shoulders of these organizations providing digital services but also the broader industry, including government institutions and technology companies. 

According to the study, Filipinos feel that the government (44%) should take the lead in building trust, followed by technology companies (35%), indicating the need for a stronger partnership between governments and technology companies. 

When it comes to fostering trust in AI technologies, consumers feel that the technology companies (43%) and government (36%) should take the lead in ensuring AI is used in a trusted manner. 

“To establish a trusted framework for the development and usage of AI and technology in general, we must first consider its impact on individuals, businesses and society. This would require a broader debate that involves the appropriate stakeholders, including the government and technology companies. These dialogues would need to be backed by actions, including forging closer partnerships and facilitating greater knowledge exchange. These are all necessary steps that will enable us to collectively establish a well-balanced, holistic baseline for trust for the entire industry,” Ortolá concluded. 

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About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.


Additional Information


Filipino parents must be vigilant of children’s online activities amidst cyber threats.

FILIPINO parents are being advised to to keep a closer eye on their children’s online activities as web threats increased 82.46 percent from January to December 2018.

The global cybersecurity company Kaspersky also recorded a 230 percent increase in annual web-based infections in the Philippines for 2018 at over 31 million versus 2017’s 9.5 million. These web threats were scanned and blocked by Kaspersky Lab products when its users accessed websites or downloaded online files. 

About 33.39 percent of the country’s population currently make up the 0-14 age group while 19.16 percent comprise the 15-25 age bracket according to statistics from data portal IndexMundi. 

Latest data gathered from May 2018 to May 2019 by the cybersecurity company also revealed that the following categories of websites were the most popular among Filipino children, which they have either visited or attempted to visit from their computers or devices. The software, audio and video leads at-42 percent. Social networks, messengers, chats, and online forums followed at 29 percent. E-commerce or online stores comes in at 16 percent. News sites registered 5 percent. Strangely computer games access registered only 3.76 percent. 

“When it comes to kids’ online safety though, we recommend that parents should step in so that the balance is tipped for good. By staying in constant contact with them plus getting a little help from advanced security solutions, parents can continue to harness the positive benefits of the internet and keep their children safe from online dangers simultaneously,” Yeo Siang Tiong, General Manager for Kaspersky Southeast Asia. 

Experts at Kaspersky recommends that parents be more involved in children's online activities from an early age. Encourage communication to learn from each other and to help build mutual trust. They also need to set clear and specific boundaries to ensure that children know what is acceptable and what is not. Also make them aware of the consequences of going somewhere that they shouldn’t or using tech when they shouldn’t be. This should be reviewed as child gets older. 

Finally the use available resources, including technology, is encouraged to help raise digital children. Using the resources provided by some companies or organizations such as parental control software as well as tips and techniques to better manage kids who use digital devices is recommended,

Kaspersky Safe Kids is a feature in Kaspersky Total Security (KTS). With this module, parents can manage the child’s screen time, view the child’s location using a GPS tracker with a real-time online map, know the child’s device battery level so they can be warned to recharge the device, monitor their public Facebook activity and block access to adult websites and content for most platforms.



By Raymond G.B. Tribdino

Photo (on the right). The start of Oracle Media Days in Oracle's Menlo Park headquarters in San Francisco.

REDWOOD SHORES, Calif., May 1, 2019 — The majority of C-Suite executives and policy makers in the United States believe investing in security software, infrastructure and emerging technologies is critical to protecting U.S. data from growing cybersecurity risks, according to a newly released survey. 

Asked what would make the U.S. government better equipped to secure data, 51 percent of C-Suite executives and 62 percent of policy makers cite investing in IT/security infrastructure; 59 percent of the C-Suite and 60 percent of policy makers cite investing in security software. When it comes to their own security investments over the next 24 months, 44 percent of C-Suite executives and 33 percent of policy makers plan to purchase new software with enhanced security; and 37 percent and 25 percent, respectively, plan to invest in new infrastructure solutions to improve security. 

The report, “Security in the Age of AI” detailing the views and actions of C-Suite executives, policy makers and the general public related to cybersecurity and data protection, was released today by Oracle. 

In addition, both C-Suite executives and policy makers rank “human error” as the top cybersecurity risk for their organizations. However, in the next two years, they are choosing to invest more in people—via training and hiring—than in technology, such as new types of software, infrastructure, and artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), which is essential to advancing security and significantly minimizing human error. Only 38 percent of C-Suite executives and 26 percent of policy makers plan to invest in AI and ML to improve security in the next 24 months. 

“We are at a critical juncture in our cybersecurity journey, as more decision makers in the public and private sector recognize the benefits of investing in next-generation technology designed for security to make progress on addressing previously intractable threats, instead of relying solely on people or legacy technology,” said Edward Screven, Chief Corporate Architect at Oracle. “That said, there is a delta between what C-Suite executives and policy makers think is best for America’s cyber future and the actions they are taking for their own organizations, indicating a greater need for business and government to understand how and why next generation technologies are so critical for their own cyber defenses.” 

Queried about what their organization has done over the past five years to improve security, both C-Suite executives and policy makers said they had upgraded existing software (60 percent and 52 percent respectively) and trained existing staff (57 percent and 50 percent respectively). Just over half (54 percent) of C-Suite executives and 41 percent of policy makers have purchased new software with enhanced security features, with 40 percent of C-Suite executives and 27 percent of policy makers having invested in new infrastructure solutions. 

Technology Industry Faces Great Threats and Responsibilities

As for what they perceived to be the greatest security threat to the technology industry, attacks by foreign governments was ranked highest by respondents (C-Suite 30 percent; policy makers 37 percent). Seventy-eight percent of C-Suite executives, 75 percent of policy makers and 64 percent of the general public believe the tech industry is well equipped to protect data. Additionally, 79 percent of C-Suite executives and policy makers, and 64 percent of the general public trust the technology industry to behave responsibly and in the best interests of the American public, as it relates to data security. Interestingly, only one in three C-Suite executives (34 percent) and policy makers (32 percent) think it is the government’s responsibility to protect consumer data, highlighting the critical role that the technology sector has to play in keeping U.S. data protected. 

“While the government has an important role to play in keeping America’s data safe, today’s increasingly dangerous cybersecurity landscape means it can’t be expected to out-innovate attackers on its own. That’s our job,” said Screven. “The U.S. government and businesses will need to rely on the technology sector more to advance the nation’s cyber defense. We can build data centers, hire talent and secure data at scale more efficiently than any one individual customer can.”

Artificial Intelligence and Its Impact on Security

Only 33 percent of C-Suite executives and 20 percent of policy makers adopt and implement AI and ML to its fullest potential, yet they strongly believe autonomous technologies powered by AI and ML will improve the way they protect and defend against security threats. 

“For the past several years, our R&D efforts have been focused on ways to out-innovate the most sophisticated security threats we could imagine. That's why Oracle Cloud Infrastructure was rebuilt with separation between application and security processing and designed to run the Oracle Autonomous Database. The Oracle Autonomous Database uses AI to deliver the world’s first and only self-driving, self-securing and self-repairing database that repairs, patches and updates itself,” Screven added. “These and other Oracle cloud security technologies based on machine learning can become the cornerstone of an organization’s cybersecurity defense strategy.”

In addition to benefiting the state of data security in the U.S., the majority of C-Suite executives (88 percent), policy makers (89 percent) and the general public (77 percent) believe autonomous technologies will also positively impact the U.S. economy, with “increased productivity” cited as the top benefit. 



DICT Media Office

PHOTO. Memorandum of Understanding. (From left to right) Kerry Singleton, Head, Cyber Security for Advanced Threat Solutions of Asia Pacific and Japan APJC at Cisco; Eliseo Rio Jr., Acting Secretary, DICT; Miyuki Suzuki, President of APJC, Cisco; and Karrie Ilagan, managing director at Cisco Philippines.

THE Department of Information and Communications Technology signed a partnership with Cisco to further improve cybersecurity in the country. This collaboration will take the form of an enhanced information and intelligence sharing.

“In line with the National Cybersecurity Plan of 2022, the DICT has taken this step to assure the continuous operation of the country’s critical information infrastructure and to implement cyber resilience measures to enhance the quality and ability to respond to threats before, during and after an attack,” Eliseo Rio, Jr., Acting Secretary of the DICT. 

Under the MoU workshops will be conducted to facilitate the exchange of ideas to further enhance the cyber resiliency of the country. DICT will benefit from the extensive and in-depth threat research from Cisco’s team. The wide telemetry of collected and analyzed data can supplement the DICT’s efforts to better protect the Philippine government’s digital assets from threats.

“Digital adoption and innovation are playing an important role in boosting the growth of the Philippine economy…the success of this digital transformation hinges in large part on the Philippines’ ability to tackle the cybersecurity threat. We are delighted to gave the opportunity to partner with DICT and play our part in improving the country’s cybersecurity resilience,” Karrie Ilagan, Managing Director of Cisco Philippines said.



Raymond G.B. Tribdino

CYBERCRIME is becoming as sophisticated as the platforms and computers systems it seeks to infiltrate. AI and machine learning tactics combine with traditional email phishing and social engineering practices to be able to penetrate even the most complex systems.

“The human factor is always the weak link in a cybersecurity system, but it can also be the strongest one,” Kevin McCaffrey, Blackpanda Philippines Managing Director said in a sit-down interview with selected technology media. 

Blackpanda, a leading crisis management and special risk consultancy group, whose expertise includes understanding and mitigating all sorts of security threats—virtual and real—uses both technology and human understanding to both prevent and resolve cybersecurity problems. Earlier this year it partnered with international IT solutions enterprise and insurance providers to offer comprehensive solutions for sectors at risk of cyber attack.

“What sets us apart is our integrated approach across the cyber, physical and human domains. We are one of the few companies that address the human component underlying the comprehensive threat, understanding that a robust cybersecurity approach needs to be layered and able to respond at the local level,” McCaffrey, a formerly US Army Green Beret said.

Blackpanda’s recent partnership with the NTT Group and its local subsidiary Diversified Technology Solutions International Inc. (DTSI) is seen to fortify cybersecurity services in the Blackpanda Group’s current suite of risk management and incident response services offered across Asia Pacific. The partnership serves as a more holistic response to the growing threat of cybercrime both globally and in the Philippines.

“DTSI has decades of experience in building digital infrastructure and managed cybersecurity solutions for BPOs (Business Process Outsourcing) and other multinational companies. We are pleased to have DTSI and NTT on board as we set out to mitigate complex cybersecurity risks in the country,” McCaffrey said. 

According to leading cybersecurity provider Kaspersky Lab, the Philippines is one of the top targets for both direct and proxy cyber attacks in 2018. The most famous of these cybercrimes was the Bangladesh Bank heist.

“The Philippines is evolving in terms of legislating against cybercrime, but there remain a number of gaps to fill in terms of infrastructure and compliance. This is where both our technical and human-focused security expertise can help,” McCaffrey elaborates.

Combined with NTT’s robust cybersecurity solutions, Blackpanda offers local cyber incident response and endpoint detection software, available 24/7 and on-premises. Through partner insurance providers, Blackpanda’s clients will also have access to bespoke cyber insurance policies covering the full spectrum of potential loss in the event of an attack.

“It’s not enough to merely have a strong perimeter defense. We take a proactive approach, hunting the threats inside-out, before they become an issue,” the Blackpanda chief said.


Cybersecurity forum unveils AI security advancements

Raymond G.B. Tribdino

PALO Alto Networks, the global cybersecurity leader, hosted the 2019 Cybersecurity Forum in the Philippines last April 4 and introduced Cortex, the industry’s only open and integrated, AI-based continuous security platform. This new approach to detection and response aims to help organizations protect themselves against cyberattacks more effectively.

Themed ‘Disrupting the Cybersecurity Status Quo’, the day-long event included keynote presentations by Oscar Visaya, country manager for the Philippines, and Vicky Ray, principal researcher, Unit 42, Palo Alto Networks.

The forum was organized in collaboration with Microsoft. The latest cybersecurity insights, best practices shared by industry peers and also key policy changes that continue to drive the industry agenda were presented. Demonstrations of the latest innovations, problem-solving opportunities, and networking sessions with partners, associates and peers also happened at the event.

“There are increasing vulnerabilities and security breaches looming ahead as cybercriminals continue to utilize sophisticated tactics to launch cyberattacks, that result in reputational and financial losses by organizations. Today, we are pleased to introduce the significant advancements that use the power of advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning to help organizations detect, protect, and respond to sophisticated attacks across enterprises, spanning network, cloud and endpoints,” Visaya said as he launched three new security products. 

The first one is Cortex that is a significant evolution of the Application Framework, designed to simplify security operations and considerably improve outcomes. Deployed on a global, scalable public Cloud platform, Cortex allows security operations teams to speed the analysis of massive data sets. Cortex is enabled by Cortex Data Lake, where customers can securely and privately store and analyze large amounts of data normalized for advanced AI and machine learning to find threats and orchestrate responses quickly.

Cortex XDR is the first-of-its-kind detection, investigation and response product that natively integrates network, endpoint and Cloud data. The second product in the Palo Alto portfolio uncovers threats using behavioral analytics, accelerates investigations with automation, and stops attacks before damage is done through tight integration with existing enforcement points, breaking down traditional security silos.

The last new product is Traps 6.0, an endpoint protection and response that now includes a Behavioral Threat Protection engine that stops advanced threats in real time by stitching together a chain of events to identify malicious activity. It also acts as the ultimate data collection sensor for Cortex Data Lake, gathering the most comprehensive endpoint security data. In conjunction with XDR, customers can use Traps to extend their prevention capabilities to include detection and response across their entire digital infrastructure with a single agent