Mexico is keeping a close eye on cybercrime as the country approaches federal elections, a time when the number of cyberattacks typically hits a peak.
Cybercrime rates increased to 22% in 2018 from 11% in 2016, according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers annual report on economic crimes released earlier this week.
Mexico reports about 82 cybercrimes every day, with people browsing social media being the hardest and most often hit.
Meanwhile, a senior executive from anti-virus software vendor Symantec has told local newspaper Expansion that the number of cyberattacks might increase by 40% this year. The government’s computer systems are the most vulnerable to cyberattacks in the country, according to the executive.
There was a sharp increase in cyberattacks in 2012 when Enrique Peña Nieto was elected president.
Cybercrimes are estimated to cost the country between US$3 billion and US$5 billion each year, according to the 2014 study by the Organization of American States (OAS).
In addition, Mexican companies spent US$1.6 billion on cybercrime incidents in 2016. When ransomware hit the computers running on the Windows operating system last year, as many as 500 Mexican banking, communications and retail companies were affected.
Police say they are in contact with internet service providers and would shutdown any website that poses a threat.
Last year, Mexico unveiled its National Cyber Security Strategy to combat cybercrime, but there has been no sign of decrease in the number of cyberattacks.
In May last year, The New York Times reported that the Mexican government had hacked journalists’ and social activists’ mobile phones with the help of the Pegasus spy program purchased from Israeli company NSO.