1,750 websites here hit by hackers last year, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

1,750 websites here hit by hackers last year

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Unnamed government agency among victims of cyber attack, reveals report

The computer systems in several critical sectors were subjected to cyber attacks last year, said a new report by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) that outlined the growing threat from hackers and malicious software.

The 26-page Singapore Cyber Landscape report gave one of the clearest pictures yet of the frequency and scope of cyber attacks here.

It noted, for instance, that 1,750 websites were defaced by hackers last year - an average of nearly five a day - and that an unnamed government agency was the victim of a state-sponsored attack.

There was also a sharp spike in reports of ransomware.

There were 19 reports last year, up from two cases the year before, said the CSA, noting that these cases tend to be under-reported.

Ransomware is malware that infects unprotected computers and locks them down with a note demanding ransom.

It was ransomware that hit several of the 11 critical sectors here, said the CSA in its inaugural report.

The CSA did not elaborate on which of the 11 critical sectors - including energy, banking, government, healthcare and transport - were hit, and how badly they were affected.

"Major cyber attacks in the first half of 2017 continue to put everyone on alert.

"The WannaCry and NotPetya cyber attacks led to disruptions in many services (globally)," said CSA chief executive David Koh.

Overall, ransomware, hacking and other crimes committed under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act more than doubled to 691 cases last year from the year before.

"The high number of website defacements should be a warning to everyone: If a website can have its content changed, it can also be used to host malicious content, and provide a launch pad for further attacks," said Mr Bryce Boland, Asia-Pacific chief technology officer of cyber security firm FireEye.

The CSA said the Government's Internet Surfing Separation policy, fully implemented in May, "will go a significant way towards securing the Government's network".