The cyber threats that Singapore face have been evolving and mirroring global trends, a report by the nation’s cybersecurity agency said.
According to the “Singapore Cyber Landscape 2017” report by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), cyber threats have continued to grow in frequency and impact. It also noticed a trend where the nature of attacks shifted from profit-oriented goals towards those causing massive disruptions.
The report revealed that 20,040 websites in Singapore were defaced in 2017, many of which were targeted by global mass defacement campaigns. Most of these websites belonged to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in various sectors.
Around 23,000 phishing URLs related to Singapore were discovered last year. These fraudulent websites are used to steal personal information such as passwords and credit card details by mimicking legitimate websites.
Singapore Police Force data showed that cybercrime continued to rise in 2017, with 5,430 reported cases. From 15.6% in 2016, cybercrime cases grew to 16.6% of total crimes, despite a drop in overall crime levels.
The most common cybercrime cases involved online cheating, while other top cases included compromised social media and SingPass accounts, impersonation scams, and ransomware. Meanwhile, in November 2017, Singapore handed out its first conviction of a Dark Web-related crime.
“A cyber-attack is inevitable,” CSA said. “When it happens, it is important that Singapore is able to respond and recover expediently. CSA works closely with partners from the public and private sectors to build up Singapore’s cyber resilience. Efforts include the introduction of the new Cybersecurity Act to strengthen the protection of critical information infrastructure (CII) sectors, conducting regular cybersecurity exercises to raise CII sector readiness in responding and dealing with cyber incidents, as well as initiatives to develop a professional cybersecurity workforce.”
The agency reaches out to businesses and individuals to increase awareness of cybersecurity through various campaigns and platforms such as GoSafeOnline, SingCERT website, and social media channels. It has also intensified cooperation with overseas partners to build cyber capacity and help usher in a “rules-based” international order in cyberspace.
“Given Singapore’s connectivity, what happens globally is often immediately felt here,” said David Koh, Commissioner of Cybersecurity and chief executive of CSA. “As we continue our Smart Nation push, we have to raise our cyber hygiene and defences, especially against cyber-attackers who are getting better resourced and skilled. We need to play our part by being vigilant and adopting good cybersecurity practices to keep Singapore’s cyberspace safe and trustworthy for all.”