PH among top phishing email targets in Southeast Asia

The cases come amid a boom in e-commerce platforms for beauty, electronics, and fashion, cybersecurity firm Kaspersky said.

Tyrone Jasper C. Piad

Tyrone Jasper C. Piad

Philippine Daily Inquirer


An illustration shows a scammer in a hoodie working on a computer. (Image by DANNIE AGACER /

October 25, 2022

MANILA — The Philippines had the most phishing emails targeting online payment systems in Southeast Asia for the first half of the year amid the booming of e-commerce platforms for beauty, electronics, and fashion, among others, according to cybersecurity firm Kaspersky.

In a report on Monday, the Russian company noted that over 238,000 phishing emails were blocked in the country during the first semester, representing about 35 percent of the total cyberattacks in the region for the period.

This was followed by Vietnam with 170,821 foiled phishing emails; Indonesia, 166,857; Thailand, 39,011; Singapore, 30,442; and Malaysia, 27,458.

For phishing attacks on electronic shops, the Philippines logged 92,211, the third highest in the region after Indonesia (169,326) and Vietnam (167,744).

The cyberattacks lodged against banks in the Philippines reached 13,200 in the first half, which was among the fewest in the region. Vietnam had the most with 56,392 phishing emails.

Kaspersky, in total, blocked nearly 2 million financial-related phishing emails from January to June.

“The first half of the year witnessed the reopening of borders in Southeast Asia but the pandemic habits seem to remain consistent. Despite our regained physical freedom, we know that we still prefer to do our banking, shopping and financial activities online because of its unparalleled convenience,” said Yeo Siang Tiong, general manager for Southeast Asia of Kaspersky.

“With most users here aware of the threats targeting our online money, it is time to act now and secure your mobile devices to enjoy the perks of a more connected, regional financial environment,” he added.

Phishing is a fraudulent activity that tricks users into giving out personal information such as passwords, credit card numbers and bank account details through malicious links delivered via emails and other modes. Once hackers obtain these details, they can drain one’s bank account.

Kaspersky previously explained that this type of social engineering attack was usually launched on a large scale by sending numerous emails to users with the hope of victimizing some of them.

High number of text scams
Meanwhile, Globe Telecom Inc. reported on Monday that it had blocked over 32.2 million text scams with clickable links from Sept. 28 to Oct. 13. It foiled an average of about 2.4 million texts daily during that period. “The amount of text messages with clickable links we blocked within just about two weeks shows the staggering number of spam and scam SMS (short message service) that disrupt and threaten customers every day. This is empirical proof that our security measure was warranted,” said Anton Bonifacio, chief information security officer if Globe.

The Ayala-led telecommunications player started blocking SMS with clickable links last month to curb the proliferation of text scams containing malicious links.

Bonifacio reminded mobile subscribers to be vigilant as hackers would find new ways to trick them into giving sensitive information. He also advised the public to refrain from entertaining messages from anonymous sources about too-good-to-be-true offers like high-paying job opportunities and lottery winnings.

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