Businesses in Singapore lost nearly S$58 million to email impersonation scams last year: CSA report

According to the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, 378 business email impersonation scams were recorded in 2018, an increase from 332 in 2017.

2018 was a great year for cybercrimes, and it doesn’t look like the numbers are going to fall anytime soon.

A report by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) has revealed that a total of 6,179 cybercrime cases were reported in 2018, an increase from 5,351 in 2017.

The report, released on Monday (June 17), revealed that cybercrimes accounted for about 19 per cent of the overall crime in Singapore last year.

According to the CSA, 378 business email impersonation scams were recorded in 2018, an increase from 332 in 2017. This led to businesses in Singapore suffering close to S$58 million (US$42 million) in losses, an increase of about 31 per cent from the previous year.

A total of 2,125 e-commerce scams were recorded in 2018, and victims lost a total of around S$1.9 million, the report revealed.

Nearly 70 per cent of these e-commerce scams took place on online marketplace Carousell, and they involved electronic products, event or attraction tickets, the report revealed.

Meanwhile, another 1,204 cases came under the Computer Misuse Act,  an increase of about 40 per cent from the previous year, the CSA said.

Although 2018 saw a rise in cybercrime, the CSA also said that there was a decrease in the number of common cyber threats reported.

Types of cyber threats in decline included website defacement, phishing, ransomware and command and control (C&C) servers.

A target on Singapore’s back

“Despite the decrease in the number of common cyber threats detected in 2018, Singapore has been, and will continue to be, the target of cyber attacks by advanced persistent threat (APT) groups and other actors,” the CSA said in a press release.

The report also noted significant cyber attacks that took place in 2018, including the SingHealth data breach in June, where the personal particulars of 1.5 million patients were illegally accessed and copied by hackers.

The attack was also “specifically and repeatedly” targeted at the medical records of Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the report wrote.

The CSA said: “These incidents highlight the need for organisations, businesses and individuals to stay vigilant and strengthen their cybersecurity to keep pace with increasingly targeted and sophisticated threats.”

The CSA added that it was anticipating an increase in frequency of data breaches.

Describing data as “the most valued ‘commodity’ in cyberspace”, the CSA said that cybercriminals will continue to try and breach computer databases, especially the ones which hold large amounts of private and personal information.

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