Cyber Threats Spike 17% in Pakistan in 2023

The cyber threats in Pakistan increased by 17 percent in 2023 as compared to 2022.

This was revealed during Kaspersky’s 9th annual Cyber Security Weekend – META 2024, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The focal point of the discussions was the security of emerging technology trends such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) that are influencing the scale of modern threats. In parallel, threats targeting industrial control systems within critical infrastructure, in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia were also discussed.

Kaspersky’s Cyber Immunity approach took center stage as a way to create solutions that are virtually impossible to compromise and that minimize the number of potential vulnerabilities. When looking at the threat landscape in Pakistan, Kaspersky’s telemetry showed the number of overall cyber threats in the country increased by 17 percent in 2023 as compared to 2022.

Meanwhile, Kaspersky blocked 16 million cyber attacks in Pakistan in 2023. As per the latest research by Kaspersky, a global cybersecurity and digital privacy company, 24.4 percent of users in Pakistan are affected by online threats in Pakistan.

Dissecting the threat landscape in Pakistan further, Kaspersky experts saw attacks using banking malware rose by 59 percent, such attacks designed to collect online banking credentials and other sensitive information from infected machines. Researchers also reported an increase of 35 percent in trojan attacks that disguise themselves as legitimate computer programs but are used to run malicious code by cyber criminals.

In addition, ransomware attacks designed to encrypt a victim’s data, files, or system, making them accessible in exchange for a payment, increased by 24 percent in Pakistan. Also, the researchers reported attacks using spyware rose by 36 percent, such attacks are malicious software that enters a user’s computer, gathers data from the device and user, and sends it to third parties without their consent.

“Being an emerging country and accepting digital transformation at a good pace, Pakistan has a very important role to play in Asia, Amin Hasbini, Director of META Research Center Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) further added that as the cybersecurity landscape evolves, cyber threats continue to become diverse and sophisticated.

This trend is particularly evident due to the emergence of advanced technologies like AI and the escalating geopolitical and economic turbulence within the META region.

These factors collectively contribute to the surge in cybercrime and the heightened complexity of cyberattacks,” added Amin Hasbini.

According to Kaspersky’s analysis, the cybersecurity threat landscape in the META region has fluctuated significantly. In the region, Turkey saw the highest number of users affected by online threats (41.8 percent), followed by Kenya (39.2 percent), Qatar (38.8 percent) and South Africa (35 percent).

Fewer users were affected in Oman (23.4 percent) and Egypt (27.4 percent) followed by Saudi Arabia (29.9 percent) and Kuwait (30.8 percent).

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