As cyber attackers size up Singapore, what next for enterprise?

As cyber attackers size up Singapore, what next for enterprise?

New research highlights importance of threat intelligence

Stephan Neumeier (Kaspersky)

Stephan Neumeier (Kaspersky)

Credit: Kaspersky

Enterprise organisations in Singapore are struggling to combat a rise in security attacks due to a lack of intelligence tools and insights, according to new research.

Findings from Kaspersky report that 42.6 per cent of local businesses lack sufficient insights on cyber threats, during a time in which the city-state has been catapulted into the cyber security spotlight following a string of high-profile data breaches.

Yet despite this, enterprise organisations remain paralysed by an inability to combat such attacks.

The B2B IT Security 2018 study - conducted in 31 countries with 155 respondents from Singapore - found out that more than a third of businesses experienced 2-3 data breaches in the last 12 months (39.1 per cent) with one incident considered to be "complex" (39.2 per cent).

From a technology standpoint, the types of attacks impacting Singapore-based businesses include inappropriate IT resources used by employees (49 per cent), malware infection of BYOD devices and inappropriate sharing of data via mobile devices (40.6 per cent) and DDoS attacks (39.4 per cent).

“Singapore businesses are increasingly becoming a target for attackers,” said Stephan Neumeier, managing director of Asia Pacific, Kaspersky. “As a rapidly growing business hub, there is a wealth of data available due to the country’s fast-tracked digitalisation, increased business activities, and transactions.

"As such, there is a need for organisations to proactively pre-empt cyberattacks, rather than react when they happen.”

Speaking to Channel Asia during a media briefing in Singapore, Neumeier said the vendor is experiencing “increased demand” in the local market for security solutions, in response to an increase in local breaches.

Yeo Siang Tiong (Kaspersky)Credit: Kaspersky
Yeo Siang Tiong (Kaspersky)

Whether it be SingHealth or Sephora - or leaks impacting the Ministry of Health - Neumeier acknowledged that city-state awareness is heightening as more incidents surface.

“Singapore is a very interesting market for Kaspersky,” he said. “We have a sizeable team here as our headquarters in Asia Pacific and Singapore is seen as an advanced market in the region, especially in terms of infrastructure and cyber security protection.

“In 2017, Singapore was rated as the most cyber secure country in the world but then SingHealth happened in 2018 and everything changed. Unsurprisingly, awareness has increased and we’re seeing significant demand in the case of the government and protecting critical infrastructure.

“Obviously, Singapore is also a regional and global financial hub which has led to financial institutions engaging with Kaspersky to increase and diversify investments to improve threat intelligence. They are no longer relying on one specific vendor or information source, they understand they must have a very diversified threat intelligence coverage.”

Such observations are endorsed by findings which show that Singapore-based organisations are looking to increase investment in IT security measures.

Specifically, 56.8 per cent are seeking to improve IT security (56.8 per cent) and 55.5 per cent to bolster incident response plans for a data breach, while 50 per cent expect IT security budgets to increase over the next three years.

“Enterprises across all sectors are facing a shortage of real-time, relevant data to manage the risks associated with IT security threats," added Yeo Siang Tiong, general manager of South East Asia, Kaspersky. "When they are empowered with the ability to track, analyse, interpret and mitigate constantly evolving IT security threats, they can better anticipate and understand threats, and prepare for the next step."

Delving deeper, organisations are also looking to invest in tools designed to offer insights into prevention or mitigation of cyber attacks - 60 per cent of businesses will invest resources in threat intelligence services, behind network detection technologies (63.2 per cent).

As reported by Channel Asia, and in light of increased attacks and breaches, Singapore businesses rank cyber security as a top business priority at enterprise level.

Revealed via the 2019 Telstra Security Report, 83 per cent of Singapore businesses experienced ransomware attacks in 2018, accounting for the highest rate globally (61 per cent) of paying a ransom after an incident, alongside New Zealand.

Almost half (45 per cent) of businesses in Singapore also expressed concern about the potential loss of productivity following a major security breach, with over half suffering a security breach last year.

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