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Singapore easiest place in region for online fraudsters to set up shop

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Online fraudsters find Singapore is the easiest place in the region to set up shop, according to a cyber security company.

It noted that the country is a hotspot for business e-mail compromise scams and for hosting malicious web addresses. About 27.3 per cent of such e-mail compromise frauds Trend Micro detected in South-east Asia took place in Singapore.

That was followed by Malaysia with 26.1 per cent and Indonesia on 25 per cent.

In a typical attack, scammers initiate or intercept communication with someone in a company who has the ability to release funds or conduct wire transfer payments.

As these attacks rely on social engineering tactics, the fraudulent e-mails typically contain no malware and go undetected by traditional security measures.

Singapore emerged as a "hotbed" for hosting malicious URLs among South-east Asian countries, accounting for 68.1 per cent of such attacks.

As a target, it accounted for 19.8 per cent of detected malware attacks - the second highest in the region. Malaysia led the way with 29.3 per cent of attacks.

Singapore ranked third in South-east Asia for getting the most e-mail threats, including spam, accounting for 10.9 per cent of incidents detected.

Vietnam was first in the region with 46.2 per cent, followed by Indonesia on 21.3 per cent.

Mr Nilesh Jain, Trend Micro's vice-president of South-east Asia and India, said attackers have become more targeted.

"Enterprises need to strengthen their cyber defences at every touch-point, namely, on the endpoint, in the cloud and at the network layer," he added.

Trend Micro noted the number of e-mail-related business scams rose by 28 per cent globally last year. They tend to be more sophisticated than phishing attacks and yield about $177,000 in each incident. - THE STRAITS TIMES