THE MAGAZINE

Cyberattack Trends in Latin America

By Holly Gilbert

Latin America is experiencing tremendous growth—unfortunately the growth in question relates to cyberattacks. “If you look at Peru, you see 28 times as much malware in 2012 as in 2011; Mexico about 16 times; Brazil about 12 times; Chile about 10; and Argentina about seven times,” said Andrew Lee, CEO of ESET. These tremendous growth rates are expected to continue in the coming years, Lee noted.

Lee was talking specifically about mobile malware, especially on Android operating systems. The landscape for these types of attacks is broadening at a rapid pace, with more than 1.3 million new Android activations worldwide each day. “If we look at the evolution of Android malware, it’s kind of mirrored the evolution of the mobile platform; it’s gone from being clunky and fairly low in function to very sophisticated and a very high-end function,” he said.

That’s just one aspect of the cyber threatscape analyzed by Lee and other panelists during a panel discussion titled “Emerging Threats and Trends: The Latin American Landscape.” The panel was part of the SegurInfo conference in Washington, D.C. The conference was hosted by the Organization of American States (OAS), which was originally established in 1948 to promote peace and justice in the Americas.

Another panelist was Tom Kellermann, vice president of cybersecurity at Trend Micro, a network security solutions company. He discussed a report that Trend Micro released jointly with OAS called Latin American and Caribbean Cybersecurity Trends and Government Responses.
 
Kellermann noted that while organized crime groups, such as narco-traffickers, have embraced cybercrime, the governments of Latin American countries haven’t been able to keep up in terms of defending against this type of crime. “Only two out of five countries have an effective cybercrime law, let alone effective law enforcement to hunt [cyberattackers],” he said.
 

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