Research from Microsoft reveals that Indonesia had the highest malware encounter rate across the Asia Pacific region in 2019. They conclude that this indicates a surge in cryptojacking and ransomware attacks.

The report shows that the region continues to experience a “higher-than-average” encounter rate for ransomware and other malware attacks, posting figures 1.6 and 1.7 times higher than the rest of the world, respectively.

Ransomware and cryptojacking attacks on the rise in Indonesia

Indonesia had a 10.68% malware attack rate during 2019. While this does represent a 39% decrease, the figures remain two times higher than the regional average, Microsoft says.

Regarding ransomware attacks, Indonesia is now ranked in second place in terms of encounter rate at 14%. This is 2.8 times higher than the average registered across other countries in the region.

Cryptojacking encounter rates stood at 10% in 2019, two times higher than the regional and even global average. They had the highest encounter rate across the Asia Pacific region and ranked #4 globally.

Haris Izmee, president director of Microsoft Indonesia, commented:

“While recent fluctuations in cryptocurrency value and the increased time required to generate cryptocurrency have resulted in attackers refocusing their efforts, they continue to exploit markets with low cyber awareness​ and low adoption of cyber hygiene practices.”

COVID-19 related cyber attacks surge

Microsoft Intelligence Protection researchers raised concerns about the increase of COVID-19 themed attacks across every country in the world. They note that there has been at least one incident per country, with the number of successful attacks in high-outbreak countries on the rise.

Most COVID-19 related cyberattacks are delivered via malicious email attachments or URLs. Hackers often impersonate global entities with key roles in the pandemic like the World Health Organization, or WHO, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, and the U.S. Department of Health.

Recently, Cointelegraph reported that Singapore has seen a significant increase in attempted cryptojacking attacks during the first quarter of 2020.