Email threats in Singapore swelled 20% in 2019

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Ransomware continued to be a mainstay cyber threat last year, with Trend Micro reporting a 10% increase in ransomware detections, despite a 57% decrease in the number of new ransomware families.

The modus operandi morphed in 2019, with ransomware increasingly becoming a secondary infection vector and alliances being forged to carry out an elaborate, complex ransomware scheme. 

Here, one group gains access to a network, and sells the access to another group to execute a ransomware attack. This shows that groups are becoming more specialised and segmenting the pieces of a cybercriminal business model. 

The report also revealed that email remained the top threat vector used by cybercriminals in 2019. Phishing continued to be the top threat to organisations in 2019 and started to feature advanced techniques.

As a result, such threats targeting Office 365 increased twofold. Business email compromise (BEC) is a notorious form of phishing attack, growing by 5% last year. Globally, BEC operators expanded from their traditional enterprise victims to encompass religious, educational, and non-profit organisations.

Related to Singapore, findings include a 54.5% year-on-year decline in the number of times it blocked malicious URLs hosted.

On the other hand, the number of times users in Singapore accessed malicious links rose by 32.5%, compared to 2018 – pointing towards the need to empower users to identify risks through education.