Top Cyberattacks Plaguing Singapore Businesses in 2021

Just how secure are your cybersecurity defenses? 

In the wake of the massive data leaks to rock the tech ecosystem in 2021, many are forced to confront the harsh truth: that their security systems are not that secure after all. 

According to Verizon’s 2021 report, there was a sharp increase in data breach incidents, rising from 3,950 in 2020 to 5,258 data breaches in 2021. In Asia Pacific alone, there were over 5,000 incidents, the majority of which were focussed on stealing credentials. This places the Asia Pacific as the second most-at-risk region globally. This is confirmed by other studies, such as the Sophos study of 900 businesses across Asia, which reported that 68% of the businesses had been successfully breached in 2021 and half suffered major data loss. 

Let’s take a look at some of the largest data leaks to shape the cyber security and privacy landscape of 2021. 

 

Indonesia’s Spate of Major Data Breaches 

Indonesia is the region’s largest internet economy; and also one of the largest victims of cybercrime. In fact, there were around 1.4 billion Internet traffic anomalies or cyber attacks in Indonesia in 2021, which is a significant increase from the 495 million incidences observed  in 2020. 

There were multiple large-scale and high-profile data breaches in Indonesia in 2021, such as the leak of a dataset containing the personal information of some 279 million citizens from the server of Indonesia’s Healthcare and Social Security Agency in August 2021. 

The spate of cyber attacks did not end there. In December 2021, Indonesia’s National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB) was hacked. In November 2021, the personal data of close to 28,000 police officers in Indonesia were stolen by a hacker. 

Cyber Pandemic in Singapore 

Despite being lauded for its top-notch security and policing systems, Singapore was not exempt from malicious cyber hackers as well.  

Some of the recent cyberattacks in Singapore include the serious data breach of air transport IT company SITA, where the data belonging to 580,000 Singapore Airlines Krisflyer and PPS members were compromised. MyRepublic, a mobile operator and internet service provider in Singapore, also fell victim to a large-scale cyber attack in September 2021, where hackers accessed the personal data of its 79,499 subscribers. This included identity verification documents and the National Registration Identity Card of Singaporeans. 

Singapore’s healthcare industry has also suffered multiple data leaks. In August 2021, the personal data and clinical information of some 73,466 patients from the Eye & Retina Surgeons (ERS) were leaked. Swiftly after, in October 2021, Fullerton Health’s vendor server was hacked, and consequently, the data of at least 400,000 individuals were stolen and sold. 

The Cost of Data Breaches 

It is clear as day that the world has been and will continue to be rocked by cyberattacks and data breaches. This is an uncomfortable truth that we need to face and take action against, for the cost of a data breach can be highly damaging in both the short term and long run. 

According to the Ponemon Institute, in 2021, data breach costs rose from USD $3.86 million to USD 4.24 million, which is the highest average total cost in the 17-year history of this report. Costs incurred can include compensating affected clients, investigating the breach, legal fees, and possible penalties imposed for non-compliance with data policies. 

Beyond the tangible financial costs in the short term, the reputational damage from data breach can be highly destabilising and almost irreversible. After all, not many would trust an organisation whose cybersecurity walls are continually breached with sensitive data and personal information. 

Take Control of Your Data 

Many companies are reactive in their approach to cybersecurity; they scramble to take action only after their walls have been breached. Nonetheless, the sharp increase and frequency of data breaches in the previous year, as well as the high tangible and intangible costs, renders this approach not only ineffective, but highly debilitating for businesses large and small. 

It is necessary to secure your firm’s defenses and adopt a proactive approach to protecting your data. Invest in your firm’s cybersecurity and contact us today. 


Article by Stephanie C. Heng

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