Cloud security not keeping pace with changing APAC landscape

Cloud security not keeping pace with changing APAC landscape
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McAfee report shows that four countries in the region – India, Australia, Japan, and Singapore – are the most vulnerable in 2021, and it may get worse due to talent shortage

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Cloud security is rapidly becoming a priority for organisations globally, especially with the pandemic driving organisations to move to the cloud to better support their remote workforce.

According to McAfee’s Advanced Threat Research Report: October 2021, based on the cloud threat incidents monitored in the second quarter of 2021, the financial services were targeted the most – followed by healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and professional services.

“Businesses need to ensure they are setting up the right cybersecurity infrastructure to stay resilient against the ever-growing number of supply chain risks and backchannel threats targeting a scattered workforce,” said Jonathan Tan, Managing Director of Asia at McAfee Enterprise. “Adopting a Zero Trust approach and educating employees on common cyber threats are critical as cloud technology becomes commonly used.”

Furthermore, with the continued shift to cloud security to accommodate a hybrid pandemic workforce, Singapore has emerged as one of the top 10 most countries with the most cloud threat incidents reported in Q2 2021. Other APAC countries that have been impacted include China, India, Japan, and Australia. 

Regarding which APAC country has been most impacted, Tan shares that their report found that India was the most targeted country for cloud threat incidents in Q2 2021 – accounting for 10% of global incidents recorded.

“India now ranks second only to the US in most security threats on cloud, followed by Australia, Canada and Brazil. This can in part be attributed to the explosive increase in remote working and adoption of collaborative tools in India, which was also hit hard by a second wave of COVID-19 cases earlier this year,” added Tan.

“In fact, Gartner forecasts that spending on public cloud services in India will reach $4.1 billion this year, up by 29.4% from 2020. With India being one of the world’s fastest growing economies, its rapid shift to cloud services would have provided abundant opportunities for cyber criminals, turning it into a prime target.”

While not unique, the continuing rise in cloud threats is concerning for APAC

Tan revealed that the rise in cloud threats is not a phenomenon that is unique to APAC, saying that they have seen a 630% leap in external attacks globally on cloud from January to April 2020.

“Yet, the APAC region seems to be particularly vulnerable, with four out of the top 10 targeted countries – India, Australia, Japan, and Singapore – being from the region,” said Tan.

“One reason could be its nascent cyber security landscape, which has not been able to keep pace with an exponential increase in new and updated cyber threats amid a rapidly digitalising landscape. Case in point – cyber security incidents in Asia increased by 84% from Q3 to Q4 2020.”

However, it is difficult to ascertain whether the situation with cloud threats has worsened in APAC compared to last year.

“In Q2 2020, we saw three APAC countries – Thailand, India, and Hong Kong – ranked among the top 10 nations most targeted by cloud threats,” shared Tan. “While it is difficult to know for sure if cloud threats in APAC has increased in sheer quantity, it is safe to say that we have seen the level of sophistication of ransomware attacks increase each year and has evolved far beyond its origins.”

“For instance, some of the techniques that were traditionally used by nation-states are now being deployed by criminal groups and hackers. What’s more, the deficit of cyber security talent in APAC has made cloud security landscape here ever more precarious.

“With the growth in APAC businesses across industries adopting a cloud-first solutions, we can expect to see more malicious actors exploiting this trend to target cloud-based data.”

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