Kaspersky warns cybersecurity needs attention
THAILAND may be an example of the classic case of having a huge population of Internet users but also low cybersecurity awareness. Perhaps that makes it fertile ground for Kaspersky, a large cybersecurity firm that is often in the news.
Local Kaspersky managers are drawing attention to the need to support and educate Thais about cybersecurity, and about the initiatives and products the firm has launched globally.
Thailand is ranked 33rd worldwide for dangers associated with surfing the web, according to a recent report from the Kaspersky Security Network.
Stephan Neumeier, managing director, Kaspersky Lab Asia Pacific, said people have ever-more devices connected to the Internet, but are still leaving their devices unprotected from cyberthreats such as hacking, malware, financial fraud, and more.
Thailand is one of Neumeier's most important markets, ranking in the top three among Southeast Asia countries. Thai users set a classic example of rapid online usage growth. And yet despite the high number of Internet users, cybersecurity awareness remains low.
The result is predictably simple: people are being victimised, said Neumeier.
People need to be educated about something as important as cybersecurity.
It is the responsibility of everyone who use a digital device to protect themselves and keep their online devices secured in order to not be used as base to attack others, he said.
"We started by helping local government improve the cybersecurity awareness - we believe that it should start with the children," he said. In Singapore, a local company team works closely with the education sector. The company wants to introduce twice yearly "public days" where they go into the schools and universities to educate students on cybersecurity. They discuss the threats "out there", and how to behave when surfing the web and using email.
"We want to educate parents of kindergarten student as well on what available tools can protect the kids from cybersecurity threats and how to educate the kids." Though started in Singapore, Kaspersky is planning parallel programs in Malaysia and Thailand later on, said Neumeier.
Piracy is behind some cyber attacks, he said. If users purchase or download pirated software, the protection, maintenance, and updates for the software could not be supported, creating a vulnerability to outside attack.
Windows PC 2017 is the most impacted by piracy, but the problem is growing for Android devices, he said.
Ransomware has had major headlines this year for repeatedly impacting computers around the world rather than just one particular country. Many people are aware of this year's ransomware WannaCry, which hit most vertical sectors across multiple platforms.
To create more awareness about cybersecurity, the company also launched Kaspersky Free Antivirus globally, aiming to get more people to protect themselves and increase personal awareness on their own cybersecurity information. And it can help fight piracy as well.
"In cybersecurity, there are free and paid markets," explained Neumeier. "Our company just jumped in to the free market with the launch of a free product. The more users we have, the more information we collect to improve the cybersecurity product." The product has fewer features than paid products, but is developed on the same core engine, he said.
The company recently introduced its 2018-series products. Kaspersky Total Security 2018 sells for Bt990 (for one device for one year) and Bt1,890 (for three devices for one year); Kaspersky Internet Security 2018 is at Bt890 and Bt1,780; and Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2018 retails for Bt690 device and Bt1,380.
Focus on enterprise sector
In addition to the free-sector market, enterprise offers a market focus for Kaspersky. Neumeier said the company is investing more efforts in growing its marketshare in the enterprise market this year, building on its already strong marketshare in consumer and SME business markets.
"We have suitable products for them. Globally, our enterprise business is growing well, with strong double-digit growth. In the Asia Pacific, we are leading in term of growth in the enterprise sector, with 40 to 50 per cent growth year-over-year. In some countries, we've grown more than 70 per cent in the enterprise sector," said Neumeier.
However, he admitted that the current international political climate particularly affects his company's business in the United State. Meanwhile, in Asia Pacific the company is growing strongly.
Early 2018 will see the unveiling of the first of three planned Transparency Centres. All will be up and running by 2020 in Europe, Asia, and the US.
"We will open not only the source code of our products, but also updates of our databases and updates to the software itself," said Neumeier.