Last year, cybercrime cases in Singapore spiked up more than 50 per cent, which was more than a quarter of all crimes in committed in the country, according to the CSA (Cyber Security Agency of Singapore) annual report published on Friday, Jun 26th.
According to the key findings from the Singapore Cyber Landscape 2019 report, nearly 9,400 cybercrime cases were reported last year, a 51.7 per cent increase compared to 6,200 cases reported in 2018. E-commerce scams, phishing and malware attacks were the common types of cybercrime.
As an agency managed by the Ministry of Communications and Information, the CSA reveals how threats and attacks have grown in both “scale and complexity” through data collected. A new range of vulnerabilities was created from the COVID-19 pandemic, with the panic it caused and fear to seek financial gain exploited by scammers. Some scammers went further as to gain access to classified information.
Mr David Koh, CSA’s commissioner of cybersecurity and chief executive says “Since its emergence in late-2019, COVID-19 has quite literally wreaked havoc all over the world … Even as nations fight to stem the effects of this pandemic, threat actors have brazenly exploited public fear and uncertainty over the coronavirus to carry out malicious cyber activities.”
In Singapore last year, e-commerce victims lost around S$2.3 million, which was an increase of S$0.4 million from 2018 (S$1.9 million) to e-commerce scams, which remained at the top of the list of scams. There were approximately 2,800 cases reported last year, which showed a 30 per cent increase from 2,160 cases in 2018.
According to the CSA, victims continued to be fooled into “too-good-to-be-true” online deals that involved electronic gadgets and event tickets.
“As one of the most connected countries in the world, Singapore remains a target for cyberattacks and cybercrime. Threat actors have continued to evolve their tactics, resulting in an intensification of malicious cyber activities in 2019,” said Mr Koh.
A popular tactic known as phishing, is where an attacker impersonates representatives from trusted organizations and individuals to steal sensitive data from victims. The CSA detected 47,500 phishing URLs in 2019, which was a 200 per cent increase from 2018.
The most commonly impersonated government organisations were the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, Ministry of Manpower and Singapore Police Force according to the report. The global rise of cyberattackers exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic and work-from-home arrangements was also covered in the CSA’s report.
Applications that facilitate telecommuting have shot through the roof and became mainstream with more people working from home during the pandemic. Attackers exploited the vulnerabilities that came from working from home by sneaking into meetings or stealing information, according to the report.
Organizations exposed to hacking attempts has been increased by the pandemic “given that home networks are usually less secured than corporate networks”, said the report. Occasional lapses in“security consciousness” is the result of working from home.
“People may show greater willingness to take on calculated security risks and trade-offs in order to get work done, such as discussing urgent classified work with colleagues over unsecured video conference calls,” said CSA. More companies encouraging remote working would shift to cloud computing and adopt the use of artificial intelligence and 5G networks, further heightening risks of cyberattacks.
The CSA said it will continue to work with both public and private organisations to strengthen cyber resilience to combat the rise of cybercrime. Regular drills will be conducted to ensure that businesses are ready to prevent cyberattacks and have robust infrastructures to face the dangers that lie ahead.
26th June 18:25
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