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Singapore ranks first as launchpad for global cyber attacks

[SINGAPORE] Singapore has overtaken nations including the US, Russia and China as the country launching the most cyber attacks globally, according to Israeli data security firm Check Point Software Technologies.

The company, whose software tracks an average of eight to 10 million live cyber attacks daily, said Singapore rose to pole position after ranking in the top five attacking countries for the previous two weeks.

"It is not particularly unusual for Singapore to be featured among the top attacking countries," said Eying Wee, Check Point's Asia-Pacific spokeswoman. 

A key South-east Asian technology hub, much of the internet traffic flowing through Singapore originates in other countries.

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That means a cyber attack recorded as coming from Singapore may have been launched outside the country, she said.

"Singapore is likely to be used as a gateway for attacks which may be based elsewhere," said a Cyber Security Agency of Singapore spokeswoman in an email.

The city-state, which wants to become a global technology hub, recently stepped up efforts to tighten cyber security after several high profile attacks on government agencies and companies.

"Singapore has now found itself on someone's list," Singapore's Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said in July.

"The attacks are orchestrated, the attacks are targeted, they want to steal specific information, there are minds behind this orchestration."

Earlier this year, Singapore's military established a cyber defence unit while the government drafted legislation to impose new cyber security requirements aimed at helping companies protect critical information infrastructure.

In May, Singapore stopped most of its public servants from being able to access the internet from their work computers.

The nation's central bank has also set up an international advisory committee dedicated to enhancing the safety and resilience of Singapore's financial sector.

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