Indian Tier-2 Cities are Emerging “Sweet Spots” for Cyber Criminals: K7 Computing’s Cyber Threat Monitor Report

While the economic boom has spurred fast track development across India with smaller cities becoming popular growth destinations, the cybersecurity awareness among companies and cyber users in Tier-2 regions is believed to be very low, and that has led to them becoming a “sweet spot” for cyber criminals across the world – reveals the Q2 findings of K7 Computing’s Cyber Threat Monitor (CTM), the largest and deepest quarterly study on the Indian cybersecurity landscape which highlights key issues and real-world problems.

According to the study, Patna registered the highest percentile of cyberattacks at 47% compared to the rest of the Tier-2 cities covered in the study, and higher than any Tier-1 city. Guwahati, Lucknow, Bhubaneswar, and Jaipur witnessed a massive 45%, 44%, 43% and 40% of cyber users coming under attack. The study states that approximately three out of every ten Indian cyber users encountered one or more cyberattacks, while metro cities have experienced a similar number of cyberattacks when compared to the previous quarter.

Commenting on the findings, Mr. J Kesavardhanan, Founder & CTO of K7 Computing said, “It is definitely an area of real concern for the country that considers itself a nation of villages. The positive trend of fast-growing Indian towns and smaller cities on the global landscape is certainly attracting the attention of cyber criminals who are becoming more and more sophisticated. It is not only a major threat to enterprises in these areas but also to consumers who are becoming heavy cyber users because of low Internet data cost, and easy and affordable availability of devices which can be exploited.”

Among metro cities, the cyber attacks in Delhi ballooned in Q2 with a 6% increase in the quarter-on-quarter infection rate. The Infection Rate in Cyber City Hyderabad is 41% from 39% recorded last quarter. Bengaluru and Pune experienced 39% and 35% of cyberattacks, similar to the previous quarter. Despite a 2% decrease in infection rate from the last quarter, Chennai still remains most vulnerable at 46%. Kolkata follows soon after at 41%. Ahmedabad, at 37%, witnessed a 1% drop in infection rate compared to the previous quarter, and Mumbai had an identical 30%.

“As we get set to enter the New Year 2020, I think it is important that companies, across sizes and geographies, start shifting from awareness to implementation in their approach towards cybersecurity. And this is not just applicable to enterprises but also to each and every cyber user in the country, including those in government departments. Awareness, implementation, and keeping it all up-to-date are very critical to remaining cybersafe in this fast growing and sophisticated cyber threat infused world,” concluded Mr. Kesavardhanan

K7 Computing’s CTM is a quarterly report that provides an insightful look into the complex cybersecurity landscape in India, and makes cybersafety recommendations that address both Enterprise and Consumer segments. As part of this process, K7 Computing’s real-world telemetry data from almost 7 million unique devices and K7 Labs’ security incident investigation data were studied and presented in the form of an index. The report tracks all critical cybersecurity areas, such as Enterprise, Mobile, Mac, Windows and IoT, pan India covering 20 Indian cities including Metros and Tier-1 and Tier-2 regions, as well as State Capitals and high-user Union Territories.

Other Key Findings from the Study

Vulnerabilities Galore

  • Exploitation of loopholes continued to be a major threat that impacted both Windows and iOS systems. While the iOS vulnerabilities were found in the iMessage service that exists in iPhone and Siri components, Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) based attacks remained the dominant type of cyber threat in Windows

  • Unpatched Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) continued to be an easy target for cyber criminals

 WINDOWS

  • USB storage device based threats remain the top malware risk for Windows users

  • Besides malware, a large variety of Trojans, Potentially Unwanted Programs, adware, deceptors, and a bunch of coinminers were also found in the study

 MOBILE DEVICES

  • Adware continued to dominate as it remained a growing “sweet spot” for cybercriminals

  • While many of the notorious Trojans and adware have strengthened their presence, a few new Android malware families were found this quarter

 MAC

  • Compared to the previous quarter, the number of PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) observed this quarter was greater than that of traditional Trojans, indicating a rise in adware and unwanted applications

  • Adware (55%) was a major threat under the PUP category, followed by Unwanted Apps (42%) and Coinminer (3%)

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