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SEA businesses, governments remain likely targets of cyber attacks: report

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Businesses and governments in South-east Asia continue to be among the most targeted by cyber attacks compared to their global counterparts, a special report by FireEye Inc and Singtel revealed on Thursday.

BUSINESSES and governments in South-east Asia continue to be among the most targeted by cyber attacks compared to their global counterparts, a special report by FireEye Inc and Singtel revealed on Thursday.

The report, which studied cyber security trends in South-east Asia from January to June 2015, found that 35 per cent of the cyber attacks originated from customers in the entertainment/media/hospitality industry.

Governments in the region were the second most targeted by advanced persistent threat (APT) malware, at nearly 25 per cent. Next came the financial service sector at 16 per cent.

The study said APT groups are likely target media companies because of their role in shaping public opinion. In addition, the sponsors of APT groups often seek early warning about reporting that is critical of their government.

The region's extraordinary pace of economic development and growing military expenditures are two major reasons for the advanced persistent threat.

It said: "APT groups seek to obtain intelligence to provide their sponsoring government with diplomatic, military, and economic advantages across the negotiating table or on the seas." It has routinely observed APT groups stealing information that deals with South China Sea disputes and their economic effects from the networks of governments and companies involved.

Businesses in the region faced a 45 per cent higher risk of a targeted cyber attack than the global average. This compares with a 7 per cent higher risk in the preceding six-month period.

Across the region, 29 per cent of the observed organisations were targeted with advanced cyber attacks in the first half of 2015. This is higher than the global average of about 20 per cent.

Thailand and the Philippines were hardest hit, with 40 per cent and 39 per cent of observed organisations exposed to these attacks, respectively.