S’pore tops cyber attack list

Singapore is now launching the world’s most cyber attacks, according to Israel’s data security company Check Point Software.

The firm says its software tracks around 8-10 million live cyber attacks per day and that Singapore has risen to the top position after coming in the top five in launching attacks for the last fortnight.

“It is not particularly unusual for Singapore to be featured among the top attacking countries,” explained Eying Wee of the firm’s Asia-Pacific staff.

As Asean’s technology centre, most online traffic passing through the Lion City, including cyber attacks, originated elsewhere in the region, she said.

In July, Singapore and Japan signed a pact to strengthen cyber-security cooperation. The move was the latest in a series taken by the city-state to strengthen ties with key players in the cyber domain as it looks to confront growing challenges.

The island republic has put forward its “Smart Nation” strategy to help the economy to grow while maintaining a reputation as a trusted digital hub.

The strategy’s four principles are building a resilient infrastructure, creating a safer cyberspace, developing a vibrant cybersecurity ecosystem and strengthening international partnerships.

The Cyber Security Agency of Singapore said the numbers of cyber attacks could be measured through different methods.

“As a commercial hub with high interconnectivity, Singapore is undoubtedly an attractive target for cybercriminals,” the department conceded.

Singapore has suffered several high-profile attacks on government agencies and large companies.

Recent advanced persistent threat (APT) attacks targeting two universities, and the arrival of the global WannaCry and Petya/Petna malware attacks have exposed the republic’s vulnerability to cyber threats.

Attacks have resulted in significant financial losses and daily disruptions. The new cyber-security legislation for the protection of critical information infrastructure (CII) which are key to the delivery of essential services.

“Singapore has now found itself on someone’s list,” warned the defence minister, Ng Eng Hen, in July. “The attacks are orchestrated, the attacks are targeted, they want to steal specific information, there are minds behind this orchestration.”

The city-state’s military established a cyber defence detachment this year while the government drafted online regulations to help protect data.

In May, most civil servants were blocked from accessing the internet from work computers.

Singapore is particularly vulnerable to cyber crime. Picture credit: Pixabay