Brazil tops cyberattack ranking in LatAm

The country has seen more than 27 million attacks this year so far, says research

Internet users in Brazil are the most targeted by cybercriminals in Latin America, according to a recent study.

Data released by Kaspersky Lab suggests that the number of cyberattacks in the country is way higher than in other nations in the region, based on the 400 million such incidents that it recorded in 2015 so far.

The company has recorded 27.642.589 hacking attempts in Brazil this year, so 31 percent of all local Internet users, while countries such as Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela hovered around 21 percent.

Brazil also happens to be the country with the highest Internet penetration in Latin America.

According to William Beer, managing director of cybersecurity at management consultancy Alvarez & Marsal, Brazilian organizations have a lot of work to do when it comes to protecting information online.

"There is a lack of focus on cybersecurity both in the public and private sector. Senior executives at organizations don't really see that as a priority," Beer tells ZDNet.

The economic crisis Brazil is currently experiencing is an additional area of concern, according to Beer. The security expert recalls that when the downturn hit the UK in 2008, the first area that suffered cuts was security.

"That is because security wasn't considered something that would provide immediate returns. However, those organizations suffered to rebuild their security teams and strategy later on," he says.

Another trend highlighted by the expert is that during a recession, layoffs will typically mean an increased security risk, with fraud and information theft incidents going up.

"These trends are compounded by the fact that in Brazil there is no requirement to disclose any information about information breaches," Beer points out.

"Also, there is no public debate about data security - and the amount of sensitive personal data that is available online is absolutely shocking," he adds.

"The debate on these issues has started, but the public and private sector in Brazil still have a huge security debt to themselves and they really do need to catch up to ensure they have well-protected organizations."