Web threats rev up by 82% in Singapore amid work-from-home

Photo by Manny Pantoja

Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) has detected about 8.5 million web threats in Singapore last year, an 82% increase from about 4.7 million in 2019.

This places Singapore in the 154th place globally when it comes to the dangers associated with surfing the web, and 6th in Southeast Asia – the lowest in the region.

The findings do not come as a surprise since the threat landscape has also evolved accordingly with our digital consumption habits. A key statistic from the report showed Singapore retaining its 10th position as the source of online threats (caused by servers hosted in the country) in 2020 with 17.2 million incidents detected, a 50% increase as compared to the year before.

However, despite the surge in incidents originating from Singapore, instances of detected local threats decreased by 39% in 2020 to hit 4.4 million -– again, the lowest in Southeast Asia. 

This suggests that Singaporeans have improved their cyber hygiene when it comes to mitigating the spread of malware via removable USB drives, CDs, DVDs and other “offline” methods.

The incidence of web-based threats was on an upward trajectory from June 2020, with the impact of “circuit-breaker” measures being fully felt by both businesses and individuals.  

This could be attributed to threat actors ramping up their activity to take advantage of the continued existence of poorly-implemented IT infrastructures and weak cyber hygiene practices of employees when businesses rushed to adopt work-from-home arrangements.

In Southeast Asia, the top five attack vectors of web threats in 2020 remained the same as from the year before — most cases are malware in web traffic found during browsing scenarios where users visit infected sites or online advertisements performing unfair action. 

While web-mining activity continued to fall in 2020, the number of users faced with web-skimmers using Trojan Password Stealing Ware to steal user account information grew by 20%.

“Singapore remains in the top 10 list globally in terms of being a source of online threats, which is a by-product of the country’s highly developed digital ecosystem and its role as the regional data hub, where cloud providers locate their infrastructure,” said Yeo Siang Tiong, general manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky.

“As the government further tightens regulations and continues to build up its cyber-defenses, it remains essential for businesses and individuals to remember that cybercriminals never sleep,” said Yeo. “Hence our security solutions should be automated, intelligence-based, and proactive.”