Why bother with bolt-cutters? Almost half of Singapore’s crimes were online in 2020

Photo of Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, by Hu Chen on Unsplash

According to the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, cybercrime represented 43% of overall crime in 2020, with 16,117 cases reported: a year-on-year increase of 172%.

The Singapore Cyber Landscape report, published on July 8 2021, provides a review of Singapore’s cybersecurity standing in 2020, putting it its global context as well as providing a number of case studies.

The stand-out figure was the sharp increase in the number of cybercrimes reported. In terms of specific crimes, the largest growth area was in cyberextortion, which went from 68 reported cases in 2019 to 245 in 2020, an increase of 360%. Ransomware also saw a dramatic year-on-year rise of 154%, with the report noting a high proportion of incidents among small and medium sized enterprises.

The Internet of Things is also a major concern. The Cyber Security Agency observed a 94% increase in the number of malicious Command & Control servers hosted in Singapore, and detected approximately 6,600 botnet drones with Singapore IP addresses each day, a 287% rise from 2019’s daily average of 2,300.

“Due to the challenges brought about by COVID-19, 2020 was a watershed for digitalisation efforts across all parts of the economy and society,” said David Koh, Commissioner of Cybersecurity and Chief Executive of the Cyber Security Agency.

“Unfortunately, the speed and scale at which digital technology was adopted may have led to some risks being taken, and threat actors are capitalising on this. The Government, organisations, and individual users need to work together in order to keep ourselves secure in cyberspace.”

Looking forward to 2021 and beyond, the Cyber Security Agency cautions businesses to be aware of three key near-term cyber threats: ransomware, targeting of the remote workforce, and supply chain security.  In the mid- and long-term, Singaporean businesses should be prepared to shore up IoT security – and to defend “space infrastructure”, with the Cyber Security Agency warning that satellites could be compromised in order to disrupt activities or obtain strategic information on targets.

Preview photo by Hu Chen on Unsplash

Researcher, writer, recovering medievalist. Currently particularly interested in the cybersecurity solutions market, cyber insurance/risk modelling, and IoT security.

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