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Over half of SMEs in Singapore have experienced a cyber error or attack last year: poll

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Some 56 per cent of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore have experienced a cyber error or attack in the last 12 months, a survey has found, flagging a significant perception gap between cyber risk and how prepared SMEs are to handle them.

SOME 56 per cent of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore have experienced a cyber error or attack in the last 12 months, a survey has found, flagging a significant perception gap between cyber risk and how prepared SMEs are to handle them.

A survey conducted by Chubb of 300 SME senior business and IT leaders in August and September last year in the Republic showed that despite over half having experienced a cyber error or attack in the past year, 63 per cent of those polled believe they are less vulnerable to cyber incidents than big companies.

The findings show that the cyber incidents, which occurred over the past year, were largely due to internal factors, including system malfunction or technical fault (22 per cent), human error causing business interruption or data loss (20 per cent), and data loss through system malfunction or technical fault (16 per cent).

“Many SMEs believe they are too small to be targeted by cyber criminals or that internal issues will not greatly impact them," said Andrew Taylor, cyber underwriting manager for Chubb Asia Pacific.

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"They think they are too small to fail.  However, our own claims data highlights numerous small business compromises that are decimating the cash flow of small businesses."

He added: “In fact, smaller companies have a relatively larger exposure, as they face the same threats as larger businesses but do not have the means to implement comprehensive protection, leaving significant risk uncovered.”

The survey also showed that nearly three quarters of respondents believe they can manage a cyber event, with 55 per cent believing they can contain a breach within 12 hours. However, two thirds of those polled believe they are not aware of all the cyberthreats and about a third of SMEs that were affected by cyber incidents were unaware of which data files were impacted.

Meanwhile, only 44 per cent ramped up their security following a breach and 22 per cent took no measures at all.

In addition, the survey showed that 70 per cent of SMEs polled have never bought cyber insurance, 64 per cent do not completely understand the insurance options available, and 48 per cent said they would value advice on safeguarding themselves from cyber issues as well as having an active response service.