Cyber-crime has exploded in Latin America at the height of the COVID-19 crisis

The Latin American region has become fertile ground for attacks by cybercriminals of all kinds who seek to extort or steal the cryptoactives of their victims.

According to Kapersky, Latin America registers some five thousand ransomware attacks per day, not counting the online scams that are growing in a large number of countries in the region.

This is an indication of the escalation of cybercrime in Latin America, where hackers seem to have found fertile ground for their vulnerabilities, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, which adds an additional ingredient of desperation for people to fall into this type of attack.

In fact, one of the main Internet attacks in Latin America recently occurred with the downloading of the COVID Lock application, which was used to steal data from people who had downloaded it, asking for compensation in cryptomonies from their attackers, as described by the digital media elheraldehenares.

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Among the most attacked countries are Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador, according to Kapersky’s Latin American threat overview, a leading company in online antivirus solutions, which registered 1.3 million attacks from ransomware alone between January and September this year.

In addition to the Russian firm’s report on data protection software solutions, the facts surrounding online scams related to the COVID-19 cure, for example, also have a high degree of penetration in countries such as Puerto Rico, Guatemala and Mexico, as criminals have managed to take advantage of the health crisis to attack and implement any type of scam to steal personal data.

Even more interesting are the figures that come from the panorama of threats in the region given by Kapersky in his report at the beginning of October: two out of every three attacks in the region are against companies and only one out of every three is aimed at users. The company claims to have blocked more than 20.5 million attacks against home users, while attacks against organizations exceed 37.2 million.

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Among the data considered in the period from January to September 2020, Brazil continues to be the absolute leader as it is the country with the highest number of attacks with 55.97%, followed by Mexico „27.86%“, Colombia „7.33%“, Peru „5.36%“, Argentina „1.87%“ and Chile „1.62%“.

In relation to the risk coefficient at corporate level, the list is headed by Argentina and Mexico, while Peru is the country where companies run the least risk of attack.

The above figures have a solid basis in terms of the bad practices of companies and government entities that allow attacks to be a real threat, as pointed out in a recent interview by Santiago Pontiroli, security analyst at Kapersky.

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„Virtually 2 out of 3 devices in Latin America have critical vulnerabilities. According to our data, 55% of computers in the region still use Windows 7 and 5% use Windows XP. However, the most frightening thing is that the rate of pirated software is 66%*, almost double the global average rate of 35%,“ says Pontiroli

Among the types of procedures most commonly used by cybercriminals to carry out their attacks are brute-force attacks to access RDP protocols, an exploitation of the remote desktop protocol „RDP“ that allows you to take control of your computer to access sensitive data.

In addition to attacks against computers, the Kapersky firm points out that in the first nine months of the year more than one million attacks against mobile devices were detected, an average of 140,000 attacks per month, with Brazil once again leading the way.

In the past, we have seen how a large number of these attacks have involved exploiting vulnerabilities that allow the theft of computer resources for crypto-currency mining, as well as key user data in order to get hold of their crypto assets through extortion or identity theft.