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Asia enterprises more vulnerable to cybercrime

Ross O. Storey | Sept. 23, 2009
Security complacency greater than in US or Europe.

Bjorn Engelhardt, vice president, SaaS Group, Asia Pacific and Japan geography, Symantec Corp.

SINGAPORE, 23 SEPTEMBER 2009 - Asian enterprises are among the most vulnerable in the world to digital attacks and cybercrime, due to an overall complacency about web and email security.

There remains a reluctance in Asian countries to adopt software-as-a-service (SaaS) approaches to combat digital crime, while the SaaS strategy is much more accepted in Australia, the US and Europe.

These thoughts come from MessageLabs, a major provider of integrated messaging and web security services that is expanding its presence in the Asia Pacific.

MessageLabs, now part of Symantec, sees about nine billion emails from 20,000 customers every day and makes a guarantee to stop all known, and unknown, viruses.

Speaking in Singapore, Bjorn Engelhardt, vice president, SaaS Group, Asia Pacific and Japan geography, Symantec Corp., said that in the Lion City alone, more than 90 per cent of emails are spam. Last month one in 196 emails in Singapore had viruses or malware included in them a phenomenal rate which has increased over the past 12 months.

Organised crime

Engelhardt said that organized crime is what is driving spam today and cybercrime was now worth more to them than the drugs trade.

The goal of an email spam or malware now is to get into your organization, establish a footprint, understand what sensitive information is available and then pull that out, Engelhardt said. The risk is pretty broad but its all about stealing information out of an prganization.

Engelhardt said that most enterprises are unprepared for what has been the recent explosion of cyber-attacks and are also often not aware of the risks that lie within their own business.

Theres a lack of understanding about what information is important to an organization and what level of threats actually exist within, he said. When we start servicing our customers we scan both in-bound and outbound emails and many are very surprised to see the number of their out-going emails that actually include viruses and malware there are lots of threats existing within organisations too.

From outside there hasnt been an abatement or decrease in spam at all; theres been a continual increase, along with phishing and malware, and its becoming more prominent on a monthly basis.

Engelhardt said that the take up of SaaS and hosted mail security ewas now growing about 35 per cent each year, while demand for typical software appliances  was growing sub 10 per cent.

Asia more complacent

MessageLabs senior director Marketing APJ, Andrew Antal, said that Asia enterprises seem more complacent and accepting of spam and viruses, compared to their counterparts in other regions.


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