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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Palo Alto Networks: Philippines records highest number of disruptive attacks in ASEAN  

Following a media briefing today, Palo Alto Networks (NASDAQ: PANW), the global cybersecurity leader, unveiled the 2023 State of Cybersecurity ASEAN report.

The study found that the Philippines, alongside Malaysia, experienced the highest number of disruptive attacks across ASEAN, in the past year. 29% of local organisations experienced a 50% or more increase in incidents. Securing operations technology (OT), especially for critical infrastructures, remains a top concern as essential services have seen higher disruptive attacks compared to other sectors.

Top 3 cybersecurity concerns:

Malware (66%), phishing and spear phishing attacks (63%), and password attacks (56%), are the types of attacks that Filipino organizations are most concerned about. With a growing reliance on cloud-based services and applications, local businesses say they are most challenged in cybersecurity because of increased digital transactions, which expose them to more cyber-risks (50%), risks from personal devices or home networks accessing corporate networks (49%), and the need to procure a broader range of cybersecurity solutions (44%).

Cybersecurity remains a top priority in the boardroom

Cybersecurity also continues to be a top priority for businesses in the Philippines. Similar to last year, 56% of local organisations shared that cybersecurity is discussed at a board level monthly. Furthermore, 68% of Filipino businesses have increased their cybersecurity budget due to increasing digitalisation (53%) and adapting to new or changing regulations that require stricter data privacy measures (48%)

Confidence level highest across the services sector

Across ASEAN, confidence in security measures is reflected across industry sectors in the region. It is particularly apparent in the Services (Banking and Financial) as well as Transport and Logistics sectors. While 51% of Philippine-based organisations feel that they are at high risk from cybersecurity threats, 90% of local organisations are confident in their adopted security measures. Compared to large organisations, small-medium sized organisations feel relatively less confident in coping with cybersecurity challenges due to constrained cybersecurity budgets and relatively weaker in-house cybersecurity talent.

“Attackers are constantly evolving and many SMEs see security as a point-in-time initiative — they are not updating their security capabilities to keep up with attackers. In many parts of ASEAN, including the Philippines, SMEs form the backbone of our economies. It is imperative for them to update their security capabilities, and an actionable incident response plan is the first step towards redefining their security strategy, along with a greater emphasis on automation of existing cybersecurity processes to foster resilience and confidence.” said Steven Scheurmann, Regional Vice President for ASEAN, Palo Alto Networks.

Cloud security, IT/OT convergence are top strategies against attacks

To combat evolving threats in the past year, Filipino organisations implemented cloud security adoption (44%), identity and access management (44%), and a security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) strategy (41%). Organisations with OT (75%), including essential services, have embraced unified IT/OT cybersecurity teams to enhance their security posture and facilitate quicker responses.

AI Integration the next steps:

Regionally, AI integration is the top technology businesses across ASEAN, particularly those in the Telco/Tech/Communications industries. This reflects the approach of Filipino organisations, wherein 54% are looking into  AI integration (including machine learning, predictive analytics, voice recognition, and sentiment analytics) in the next one to two years.

“It is great to see the confidence across ASEAN and in the Philippines in their security measures. This indicates that businesses have and are continuing to build resilience against evolving cyber attacks. However, confidence must be coupled with caution. Taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity is the need of the hour, which will need an all-hands-on-deck initiative with active participation from everyone within the organisation,” concluded Oscar Visaya, Country Manager for the Philippines at Palo Alto Networks.

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