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APJ Financial Services: Akamai Research Shows APJ Surpasses North America in Web Application and API Cyberattacks Against Financial Services
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State of the Internet report shows web application and API cyberattacks grew by 449  percent year-over-year in APJ, from 50M in 2021 to 240M in 2022

SINGAPORE, Dec. 6, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Akamai Technologies, Inc.  (NASDAQ: AKAM), the cloud company that powers and protects life online, today released a new State of the Internet report that indicates a severe risk to the financial services sector in Asia-Pacific and Japan (APJ) region, as attackers ramp up attacks and shift to more sophisticated techniques. Web application and API attacks in particular are increasing at an alarming rate while also growing in complexity. The new report,  Enemy at the Gates, further notes that roughly 80 percent of cyberattackers additionally aim their efforts at customers of financial services in an attempt to find paths of least resistance for monetary gain.

Akamai Technologies, Inc. logo

Enemy at the Gates shows that financial services in APJ is among the most attacked verticals in several critical areas: web application and API attacks, DDoS, phishing, zero-day exploitation, and botnet activities. Most concerning is the staggering surge in web application and API attacks — a 449 percent growth in the number of attacks against APJ financial services year-over-year. Earlier this year, we found web apps and  API vectors commonly used by ransomware groups to gain initial access via the exploitation of vulnerabilities. The surge in web app and API attacks in APJ seems to correlate with the high GDPs of some of the affected countries in the region. The shortage of cybersecurity skills or talent in the region could potentially be a factor in the increasing number of successful cyberattacks. Knowing what the attackers are focusing on could help organizations and security practitioners in APJ have a better understanding of their risk exposures and prioritize securing potential weaknesses.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • The growing number of attacks and increased sophistication coincides with an increasing number of cyberattacks in the region, primarily resulting in ransomware. A recent Akamai Ransomware Threat Report APJ Deep Dive H1 2022 connects web app and API attacks with ransomware.
  • Australia, Japan and India are the countries with the highest number of web application and API attacks in the region.
  • Within 24 hours, exploitation of newly discovered zero-days against financial services reaches multiple thousands of attacks per hour and peaks quickly - affording little time to patch and react.
  • A significant increase in Local File Inclusion (LFI) and Cross Site Scripting (XSS) attacks demonstrate how attackers are shifting toward remote code execution attempts that present a larger strain on internal network security.
  • Phishing campaigns against financial services customers are introducing techniques that bypass two-factor authentication solutions and increase risk for everyday customers.
  • Customer account takeover attempts represent over 40 percent of attack types with another 40 percent focusing on website scraping, which is used to create more convincing phishing scams.

"Financial services is one of the most attacked industries when new vulnerabilities are discovered, a favorite target of DDoS attacks and continuously focused on by phishing campaigns, which are aimed at their customers who suffer the brunt of these attacks," said Steve Winterfeld, Advisory CISO for Akamai. "Attackers will always find ways to infiltrate your network or impact your customers. Understanding attack surfaces could provide insights into key risks and therefore allow organizations to devise security controls and mitigation plans to better protect customers."

For additional information, the security community can access, engage with, and learn from Akamai's threat researchers by visiting the new Akamai Security Hub  and following the team on Twitter at @Akamai_Research.

About Akamai

Akamai powers and protects life online. Leading companies worldwide choose Akamai to build, deliver, and secure their digital experiences — helping billions of people live, work, and play every day. With the world's most distributed compute platform — from cloud to edge — we make it easy for customers to develop and run applications, while we keep experiences closer to users and threats farther away. Learn more about Akamai's security, compute, and delivery solutions at akamai.com  and akamai.com/blog, or follow Akamai Technologies on Twitter  and LinkedIn.

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