Trend Micro PH Gears Up on Its Call to Defend the Connected World

DECODE Annual Cybersecurity Conference tackles Deepfake Technology and other related threats to the global business community.

The evolution of disinformation campaigns—or what people know as “fake news”—is posing a greater threat than what many of us can think of. Aside from being a tool for cyber-extortion, an emerging trend called “Deepfake Technology”—a term used for a collection of different AI based image manipulation techniques—has the potential to produce fake video and audio clips for cybercriminals to illegally connect money from individuals, government institutions, and private companies globally. 

“We are living in a golden age for elite cyber attackers,” said Robert McArdle, Trend Micro Research Director, Forward-Looking Threat Research—Cybercrime Research. “In the early ages of hacking, attacks were carried out manually by attackers. Then, the explosion of malware followed, wherein attackers develop codes that perform hacking through compromising machines and using botnets. Now, the most damaging attacks are carried out directly by very skilled human attackers again using effective tools creatively.”

Deepfake danger

McArdle predicts that attackers will combine Deepfake Technology with some of today’s extortion-based ransomware to form business models that make successful cybercrime attacks against organizations. An attacker can, for example, alter photos and videos (complete with voice or audio) to generate a convincing Deepfake then blackmail a victim by threatening to send the Deepfake link to all the contacts in his/her phonebook or email contacts list unless he/she sends payment to a Bitcoin account. 

In the next 12 months, McArdle also foresees the following trends in the threat landscape:

“Post intrusion” ransomware will significantly increase, and attackers will focus on organizations that provide critical services and infrastructures.
Cybercriminals will go deeper into banking networks, focusing on the manipulation of interbank networks and attacks targeting ATMs.
Underground hosting, i.e., how cybercrime-related sites and services are hosted, will evolve and will see greater collaboration and stronger supply chain.
These pressing concerns and more came into focus in DECODE, an annual cybersecurity conference organized and facilitated by Trend Micro Philippines on October 10, 2019. Now on its third year and with the theme “GEAR UP: Defending the Connected World,” the summit gathered close to a thousand local IT and technology professionals from various parts of the country to orient them about the latest in the threat landscape, industry trends and new technologies, as well as to empower them to secure the digital infrastructures of their organizations. 

DECODE sessions 

The highlight of DECODE were the track sessions with various keynote speakers who provided more in-depth insights about cyber-attacks and protection. There were 15 track sessions facilitated simultaneously—centered on important topics like the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Incident Response, and Vulnerabilities. Among these sessions were discussions about Internet of Things in the underground economy and analysis of Tesla Model 3. 

At the same time, Hands-On Lab sessions were facilitated—where registered attendees learned practical techniques in threat analysis. The conference also tackled many other technology and issues that are affecting businesses and industries. 

DECODE is part of Trend Micro’s continuing efforts to help ramp up knowledge and training among local IT professionals amid a global scarcity for skilled talent for combatting cyber threats. In September, the security vendor facilitated its first Trend Micro Certified Professional Program, a certification program for IT experts that provides hands-on training for fighting cyberattacks.

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