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Singapore businesses adjust to 'new normal' of sustained cyberattacks: poll

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Singapore businesses are adjusting to a "new normal" of sustained and sophisticated cyberattacks, according to a cyberthreat report that surveyed 252 C-suite technology executives.

SINGAPORE businesses are adjusting to a "new normal" of sustained and sophisticated cyberattacks, according to a cyberthreat report that surveyed 252 C-suite technology executives.

The report, released by US cybersecurity firm Carbon Black, indicated that 96 per cent of Singapore organisations surveyed have suffered a cybersecurity breach in the last 12 months, the same percentage in its report earlier in the year.

Additionally, 93 per cent reported an increase in cyberattack volume, compared with 92 per cent in the previous survey.

Almost half (48 per cent) said there was financial damage due to the breaches, and 83 per cent suffered damage to their corporate reputation.

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Ransomware attacks were the prime cause of breaches, which meant end users - the weakest link in the security chain - were being targeted, said Carbon Black.

Despite almost all surveyed businesses suffering a breach in the past year, 84.5 per cent feel more confident in their ability to repel attacks than they did a year ago. Some 40 per cent said they feel a lot more confident.

Almost all (95 per cent) said their defence was strengthened through threat hunting and 91 per cent had found evidence of malicious cyberattack activity during hunting exercises.

Rick McElroy, head of security strategy at Carbon Black, said that as the cyberdefence sector continues to mature and businesses become more aware of available tools to combat cyberattacks, this growing confidence indicates a power shift towards defenders.

Most (99 per cent) Singapore businesses surveyed plan to increase their cybersecurity budget in the next 12 months.

Just under half (40 per cent) will increase spend by 21 to 30 per cent, and 2 per cent plan to increase budgets by over 50 per cent.

Planned budget increases were highest in the media and entertainment sector, followed by financial services.

However, firms also faced hiring difficulties, with 67 per cent finding it more difficult to recruit and train specialist IT staff for cybersecurity.

Nearly half (44 per cent) of financial services companies said recruitment challenges have got a lot more severe, while only 19 per cent of government organisations reported the same amount of difficulty.

There was also apprehension around the upcoming 5G technology, with 98 per cent of firms surveyed expressing concern. More than half (55 per cent) predicted it would expand the scope of cyberattacks, while 34 per cent said it would create a lack of visibility over an organisation's networks.

The survey was conducted in August and reached out to 2012 chief information officers, chief technology officers and chief information security officers globally.

The companies' industries included financial, healthcare, government, retail, manufacturing, food and beverage, oil and gas, professional services, and media and entertainment.