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Singapore organisations see rise in cyberattack volume, complexity: poll

LOCAL organisations are reporting a greater number of cyberattacks coupled with increasingly sophisticated tactics, according to the Singapore Threat Report released by cybersecurity firm Carbon Black on Tuesday.

Some 96 per cent of the 250 local organisations surveyed have suffered a cybersecurity breach in the last 12 months. Each organisation reported an average of 3.98 breaches.

Furthermore, 92 per cent of organisations surveyed have seen a rise in cyberattack volume, while 95 per cent said that the attacks have become more sophisticated.

Conducted in January, the survey reached out to the chief information officers, chief technology officers and chief information security officers of Singapore companies and other organisations in a range of industries, including government, healthcare, finance, media and food and beverage.

Ransomware is the most “prolific” type of attack, noted Carbon Black in its report, with 28 per cent of organisations naming it as the most frequent attack. This is followed by malware and Google Drive cloud data breaches.

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Human errors were also found to be responsible for a significant portion of attacks. Some 14 per cent of successful breaches were caused by phishing attacks, where malicious parties pose as trustworthy entities to extract sensitive information such as passwords.

Weaknesses in processes were likewise deemed responsible for 12 per cent of breaches.

Some sectors showed particular vulnerability. For instance, 63 per cent of financial services companies reported that attack sophistication has grown significantly.

Meanwhile, 61 per cent of manufacturing and engineering companies have been breached three to five times in the last year.

As threats become more abundant, organisations are ramping up their defences, the survey found. Some 97 per cent of respondents said that they plan to increase their spending on cyber defence.

At the same time, 79 per cent of organisations surveyed said that they have actively threat-hunted, or searched for vulnerabilities in their systems, in the past 12 months. Of these organisations, 41 per cent said that the practice has “significantly strengthened” their defences.

The findings indicate that Singapore organisations are “under intense pressure from escalating cyberattacks”, said Rick McElroy, head of security strategy for Carbon Black, in a press statement.

“The research indicates increases across the board in attack volume and sophistication, causing frequent breaches... As threat-hunting strategies start to mature, we hope to see fewer attacks making it to full breach status,” he added.

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