Singapore is 'especially vulnerable' to cyber-attacks: CSA

Authorities have emphasised that Singapore is prone to cyber-attacks "due to its high-penetration rate".

cybersecurity singapore
Public servants and contractors sit at their desks at a public housing administration center in Singapore 13 June 2016 (Edgar Su/File Photo/Reuters)

A report by the Cyber Security Agency (CSA) of Singapore on Thursday shows a surprising revelation that a public organisation in the country had suffered a state-sponsored cyberattack last year without it knowing. Authorities have emphasised that Singapore is prone to cyber-attacks "due to its high-penetration rate".

The latest CSA report has unveiled a few astonishing details about the city-state's status quo with regards to cyber security. Around 1,800 website defacements from last year have been taken into account, which has remained underreported.

Also read: Around 5,400 Singaporeans affected by AXA data breach

Ransomware attack is the most common malicious cyber act committed in 2016, targeting individuals and small and medium-sized businesses. In sum, criminal activities classified to be in violation of Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act, such as ransomware attacks, phishing scams and hacking of online accounts, among others, doubled to 691 cases in 2016 from 2015.

"Singapore is especially vulnerable due to its high Internet penetration rate," reads the report.

Highlighted as well in the report is the attack that was launched by a foreign state-sponsored hacking to an unidentified government organisation in Singapore late last year. CSA refused to pin down the foreign government behind the said attack.

CSA chief executive David Koh has emphasised that the agency is on alert as cyber-attacks continue to manifest during the first two-quarters of 2017.

Also read: Android device owner? Here are sure-fire ways to reduce risk of malware attacks

Despite that, CSA vows to continue safeguarding Singapore's cyberspace in the years to come as the country moves forward to becoming a Smart Nation.

"With Singapore's vision to become a Smart Nation, the protection of our cyberspace becomes more critical than ever," reads the report. "CSA will continue in its efforts to protect essential services from cyber threats and create a secure and trustworthy cyberspace for businesses, communities, Singaporeans, and Singapore."

This article was first published on September 15, 2017