Mexican Cloud Networks Witness a Raft of Cryptojacking Attacks

Mexico’s cloud network space is seeing a bit of pushback from users as security threats have begun to surge. Last month, Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Labs published a report showing that Mexico witnessed a surge in the number of cryptojacking attacks in the first quarter of 2020.

Weak Security Protocols Across the Board

Corroborating the report, local news source El Economista reported that almost 75 percent of all organizations in Mexico use cloud networks. These networks come provided predominantly by tech giants like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. However, a spate of security complaints has led to an erosion of trust from locals.

As El Economista explains, these security weaknesses allow hackers to deploy ransomware and other crypto-related attacks. The report reveals that more Mexican companies have reported instances where unknown hackers access their cloud computing services to mine cryptocurrencies. However, it didn’t add any details on which cryptocurrencies had been mined so far.

Alain Karioty, the General Sales Manager for Latin America at cybersecurity firm Netskope, told the news source that most companies don’t know how to protect their cloud computing networks yet. This lack of knowledge has left them significantly vulnerable.

Leonardo Granda, the Engineering Manager for Latin America at Internet security consulting firm Sophos, also shared insights on the security flaws that cause data loss. In part, he said:

 “This data loss is often due to poorly configured public access in shared cloud storage and by leaving data sources open for cyber attackers to search for them using tools such as the specialized search engine Shodan they can exfiltrate them.”

Cryptojacking and Ransomware Have Become a Global Threat

It’s worth noting that Mexico isn’t alone in this fight against cryptojacking. Other countries have pointed out increased instances of security compromises, as the world continues to adjust to the prospect of increased dependence on the internet.

Kaspersky’s report also highlighted that Singapore had seen a 300 percent spike in the number of attempted cryptojacking attacks.

In an interview with local news source Stratis Times, Yeo Siang Tiong, Kaspersky’s General Manager for South-East Asia, explained that Singapore’s high-performance internet infrastructure had become a top attraction for hackers.

“Cyber criminals use various means to install miner programs on other people’s computers, preferably in bulk, and take all of the profit from cryptocurrency mining without incurring any of the equipment or electricity costs,” he clarified.

Kaspersky found 11,700 attack attempts on devices located in Singapore between January and March 2020, up from 2,900 in the first quarter of 2019. The internet security firm added that this spike was the highest percentage increase for the South-East Asia region.

A similar trend was reported in Columbia, with a report from the Colombian National Police labeling the country as Latin America’s ransomware capital. The report, which the police made in collaboration with McAfee Security, Cisco, Microsoft, Claro, and more, stated that Columbia’s ransomware threat was significantly “underrated,” as up to 30 percent of all Latin American ransomware attacks target the country. Peru (16%), Mexico (14%), Brazil (11%), and Argentina (9%) round out the top five.

The report also added that up to 83 percent of Columbian companies don’t have the response protocols required to handle any of these attacks.

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