MANILA, Philippines — BDO Unibank Inc. urged its clients to download its mobile apps only from official sources after global cybersecurity and digital privacy firm Kaspersky reported a sharp rise in mobile malware attacks in the Philippines.

To ensure the security of data, the country’s largest lender said the bank’s apps, including BDO Digital Banking, BDO Pay, BDO Deals, BDO Securities Mobile App, BDO Checkout, BDO Merchant, and BDO Unibank SG should only be downloaded from the official Google Play Store, Apple App Store, and Huawei App Gallery.

“Scammers use malware to gather confidential information that may be saved in mobile devices, such as online banking username and password, debit or credit card information, and other personal data,” BDO warned.

The Sy-led bank said clients should not download its mobile apps from unofficial app stores and other websites which may offer outdated versions of these apps or worse, include a malicious software or malware.

Meanwhile, clients who are unable to download the mobile apps are encouraged to use the web version.

Kaspersky detected and blocked 382,578 mobile attacks against users in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines in the first half, 14 percent higher compared with the same period last year with 336,680 incidents.

The mobile attacks detected and blocked covers the general Kaspersky users from the region.

The Philippines is one of the countries with the highest number of blocked mobile malware in Southeast Asia as of end-June with 22,248 combined attacks, following Indonesia’s 232,485, Thailand’s 54,937, and Malaysia’s 45,267.

The number of blocked attacks in the country was 39.2 percent lower than the 36,619 recorded in the same period last year.

In terms of the percentage of users attacked by mobile malware, 4.42 percent users in Malaysia were targeted in the first half, followed by Thailand with 4.26 percent and Indonesia 2.95 percent.

Singapore is close with 2.83 percent of mobile users almost infected by this type of threat. The Philippines at 2.27 percent and Vietnam at 1.13 percent logged the lowest level during the review period.

Due to the pandemic that led to work-from-home arrangements, employees transitioned to remote office environment to continue to work virtually.

A survey done by Kaspersky last year showed that more than two-thirds of respondents are using a personal device to work from home. Aside from this, employees are also using their work gadgets for personal activities such as watching video and educational content, reading news, and playing video games.

Most interestingly, 33 percent of the 6,017 employees surveyed worldwide last year admitted to using their office devices to watch adult content, a type of content that is often targeted by cybercriminals.

Yeo Siang Tiong, general manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky, said laptops are the main workhorse, but mobile devices have also been used to access office emails and work-related systems even before the pandemic.

“It is a risky, but a known practice that these same handsets are also being utilized for personal tasks and accessing guilty pleasures. With this trend being more rampant in a virtual home office, companies should revisit their policies, access rights, and security set-up to block cybercriminals from entering their enterprise network through infected smartphones,” Yeo said.

Source: Philippine Star