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Securing connections

Over the past 18 months, millions of Filipinos have become increasingly dependent on internet connectivity due to the various quarantine restrictions wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Work from home and online schooling setups have become common fixtures in many households all over the country and as it is the safest option for many, the amount to time people have spent online has skyrocketed.

As a result, cyberattacks in the Philippines have also doubled to 4.88 million cases from January to June compared to only 2.46 million in the same period last year. It does not come as a surprise, with more employees and students connecting to the internet from their homes where protection from malware and cyberattacks is poor and almost non-existent.

Global security and digital privacy provider Kaspersky recorded a 98 percent jump in brute-force attacks versus Microsoft’s remote desktop protocol (RDP) among users in the Philippines during that period.

A brute-force attack is a way to guess a password or encryption key by systematically trying all possible combinations of characters until the correct one is found, while RDP is Microsoft’s proprietary protocol used to control servers and remotely connect to other computers running Windows. A brute-force RDP attack is an attempt to gain remote access to a target computer.

The hurried transition to home working has given cyber criminals the logical conclusion that poorly configured RDP servers would surge, resulting in a sharp jump in the number of attacks.

Protecting our homes from intruders and attackers is a natural instinct but our increased dependence on the internet connectivity means businesses, employees and households have to give their work from home set ups a second look to ensure continued protection from cyberattacks that could be as costly as being having a home burglarized.

Security measures such as strong passwords, two-factor authentication, the use of available security solutions, and a sprinkling of both tech savvy and common sense will keep home networks, devices and data safer from attacks during a time when such criminal activity is on the rise.

Our dependence on the internet and our internet connected devices will not wane even after the pandemic ends. It is up to us to make sure that we also upgrade our knowledge and equip ourselves so we are protected from the cybercriminals that are preying on those who are not taking their online security seriously.*

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