Singapore phishing targets increased to 8,500 and ransomware attacks stood at 132 in 2022: CSA, ETCIO SEA | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

The Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) released the Singapore Cyber Landscape (SCL) 2022 publication today. The publication provides a comprehensive picture of the cybersecurity threat landscape in Singapore. CSA observed that, in 2022, phishing, which is a key conduit for scams and other malicious cyber activities, posed an increased threat to organisations and individuals. In line with global trends, ransomware continues to be a key concern in Singapore, with around one ransomware case reported every three days on average. The number of infected infrastructure (formerly known as Command & Control (C&C) servers and Botnet Drones) saw a drop in Singapore despite a sharp growth of infected infrastructure observed worldwide.
Key malicious cyber activities in 2022

Phishing. There were around 8,500 phishing attempts reported to the Singapore Cyber Emergency Response Team (SingCERT) in 2022, more than double the 3,100 cases handled in 2021. More than 50 per cent of reported cases involved URLs ending with “.xyz” – a popular top-level domain among threat actors given its low cost and limited restrictions on usage. The most commonly-spoofed were Banking and Financial Services, Government and Logistics. More than 80 percent of reported phishing sites masqueraded as entities within the Banking and Financial Services sector.

Ransomware incidents. Ransomware remains a major issue both in Singapore and globally, with cybersecurity vendors reporting a 13 per cent increase in ransomware incidents worldwide in 2022. In Singapore, the number of reported ransomware cases saw a slight decrease with 132 cases reported to CSA in 2022, compared to the 137 cases reported in 2021.

Infected Infrastructure2. In 2022, CSA observed 81,500 infected systems in Singapore, a decrease of 13 per cent from 94,000 in 2021. Despite a sharp growth of infected infrastructure observed worldwide, Singapore’s global share of infected infrastructure fell from 0.84 per cent in 2021 to 0.34 per cent in 2022.

Anticipated cybersecurity trends

The SCL 2022 report also highlighted several trends to watch:

Ransom for Reputation.
Given the spate of high-profile data breaches in 2022 globally, organisations might consider mitigating reputational damage as a more compelling reason to pay the ransom than regaining access to their encrypted data. As such, while threat actors will continue to rely on extortion, actual ransomware deployments may decline. Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) providers might turn their attention to focus more on data exfiltration and public shaming on “leak sites”.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Bad and Good. AI is a double-edged sword that can be adopted by attackers and defenders alike. It is expected to be increasingly incorporated for cybersecurity, with an anticipated growth in market size from US$22.4 billion in 2023 to US$60.6 billion in 2028.

Systemic Risks from Economic Adversity. The Russia-Ukraine conflict brought about financial pressures and a rise in cost of living. Inflation remains high in many countries and the International Monetary Fund anticipates a global economic downturn this year. Economic adversity create opportunities which threat actors can exploit via phishing.

David Koh, Commissioner of Cybersecurity and Chief Executive of CSA, said, “2022 saw a heightened cyber threat environment fuelled by geopolitical conflict and cybercriminal opportunism as COVID-19 restrictions began to ease. Emerging technologies, like Chatbots, are double-edged, as with many new technologies. While we should be optimistic about the opportunities it brings, we have to manage its accompanying risks. The government will continue to step up our efforts to protect our cyberspace, but we need businesses and individuals to play their part too, so that we can fully reap the benefits of our digital future.”

  • Published On Jun 23, 2023 at 08:35 AM IST

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