Can Singapore Companies Really Protect Your Personal Information From Hackers?

Can Singapore Companies Really Protect Your Personal Information From Hackers?

Singapore is a safe place right? I mean, you can walk almost anywhere in the country at 2am without the fear of getting robbed, assaulted, raped, or murdered. And if you’ve done a fair amount of world travel, you know that there aren’t many places where you’ll truly feel safe walking around at night.

Bottom line, Singapore is safe when it comes to violent crime. Here’s another question for you – how safe do you feel when it comes to your personal data? Is the personal data you willingly provide banks, financial institutions, insurers, merchants, the government, and even your employer safe from cybercrime? That’s a question that you should feel uncertain about.

Cybercrime Is a Huge Problem Overseas That Will Become a Growing Problem in Singapore

In the United States and Europe, the cybercrime situation is reaching scary levels. Hackers aren’t just compromising the data of small businesses that lack the means to invest in the best data security measures.

Hackers are targeting large companies that you would expect to have the best data protection and forensic data analytics (FDA) to protect customer information – and they’re still managing to steal data! Here are just a few companies that have had HUGE amounts of customer data stolen:

Now, take a guess at how much money cybercrime cost Singaporeans last year? Well, unless you already know or you’re just a lucky guesser, the answer will probably shock you – Singapore lost $1.25 Billion in 2013, up from $1.18 Billion in 2012!  

Not All Hackers are Created Equal – Some Are More Dangerous than Others

You all know the slogan, “Low crime doesn’t mean NO crime,” right? Well, in the case of cybercrime, low crime today will lead to more crime tomorrow without adequate cyber security. In fact, cybercrime is the only crime that’s increasing in Singapore. In the last few years, Singapore has experienced the following cyber attacks:

So who’s really behind these cyber attacks? According to Jack Jia, Director, Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services at EY Hong Kong, there are four types of attackers that companies and government agencies must guard against:

  • The “Hobbyist” Hacker
  • The Coordinated Hacker Group
  • The Corporate Espionage Specialist
  • The State-Sponsored Hacker

What’s scary is that even if you protect your personal data from a “hobbyist” hacker with the best cyber security software money can buy; you’re still vulnerable to hacker groups that target the companies and government agencies that also hold your personal data.

“Companies can build firewalls, but as recent cases suggest, security breaches can still occur,” says Jack. “That’s why we’re encouraging companies to also focus on diagnostics that look at a company’s “big data” to see who is launching a cyber attack, how an attack is being launched, and what key data is being targeted by hackers.”  

What Are Singapore Companies and Government Agencies Doing About It?

In what can be considered “perfect” timing after the 2013 Singapore cyber attacks by Anonymous, the government took steps to reduce its vulnerability to cyber attacks by enacting a 5-year National Cyber Security Masterplan 2018, which will do the following:

  • Improve critical infrastructure protection
  • Develop homegrown cyber security talent
  • Develop an improved cyber security ecosystem

Even companies are now getting serious about cyber security. “Companies aren’t just guarding against attacks, they’re channeling their energies towards actively combating security threats,” says Lawrance Lai, Partner, Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services at EY Singapore. “Companies are recognizing that advanced solutions are required to keep the problem at bay.”

Lawrance believes that the best way for organizations to move forward in today’s increasingly dangerous cyber environment is to take a more strategic approach to detecting cyber crime and fraud in as close to “real-time” as possible.

“Improving employee education, increasing budgets, and innovating security solutions through the use of technology such as forensic data analytics (FDA) is the best approach to helping organizations deal proactively with data breaches, relates Lawrance.  

Some Interesting Statistics to Consider

EY’s survey released earlier this year titled, Global Forensic Data Analytic Survey 2014: Big risks require big data thinking, brought to light some pretty worrying statistics – especially in Singapore where 64% of respondents agreed that more needed to be done to improve anti-fraud and bribery procedures, including using technology such as FDA. Here are some additional statistics that should give companies and government agencies something to think about:

Big Data Can Play a Role in Fraud Detection, but No One’s Really Using It

Globally, 72%of respondents believe that big data technologies can play a role in detecting and preventing fraud. Yet, only 7% of respondents know of existing big data FDA technologies and only 2% of them are actually using big data FDA technologies. 01-graph What’s interesting is that 90% of respondents believe that FDA technology enhances the risk assessment process to detect misconduct that couldn’t be detected before such technology. 02-graph

If Companies Know How Important FDA technology Is, Why Aren’t More Using It?

The reality for many companies is that there are multiple reasons why FDA technology isn’t being adopted. According to respondents, these were top challenges that kept many companies from fully utilizing it: 03-graphs

Final Note: We’ll be doing an article on identity theft soon so you can get some tips on how to minimize the chances of someone using your personal data to steal your hard earned money.  

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