The global cyber landscape saw new attempts to disrupt critical information infrastructure and the growing use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices to launch attacks. Ransomware has also emerged as a significant threat that caused widespread damage to governments, business and individuals, locking them out of their systems and halted operations and services. Singapore similarly faced such threats due to the high level of internet connectivity. While advances in digital technology have opened up opportunities for all, they have also exposed people to cyber threats that aim to cheat, steal or alter data, disrupt their daily business activities, and cripple the critical infrastructure.
Cyber-attacks are becoming more frequent and damaging. The impact of a cyber-attack was keenly felt in the United States of America in October 2016, when a major Domain Name System (DNS) faced a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. IoT devices like Wi-Fi routers and webcams were hijacked to launch cyber-attacks, specifically DDoS attacks. Usually, DDoS attacks target websites, but that attack struck at a core infrastructure of the Internet – essentially the Web’s “telephone directory”. More than 80 organisations were affected and visitors could not connect to their websites. That incident may have resulted in inconvenience mostly, but it could also be considered a harbinger of things to come.
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. Singapore is certainly not immune to these two cyber-attacks and we can expect them to evolve and emerge in bigger, bolder and faster ways. Prevalent cyber threats observed in Singapore’s cyberspace in 2016 were defacements, phishing, ransomware, and compromised Command & Control (C&C) Servers, the last being potential launch-pads for other cyber-attacks, such as DDoS.
To educate and reach out to the public on cybersecurity, CSA manages the GoSafeOnline and SingCERT websites and social media platforms that provide cybersecurity news and resources to individuals and businesses. Members of the Cyber Security Awareness Alliance, which CSA co-chairs, have also been giving media interviews talks to businesses, schools and the public to raise cybersecurity awareness. Cybersecurity is a team effort. Everyone has a part to play, and everyone has to play their part. At the national level, CSA will continue to spearhead initiatives and engage stakeholders to enhance Singapore’s cybersecurity posture. At the organisational and individual levels, efforts must be made too to raise awareness, capabilities and resilience to counter the looming cyber threats that Singapore will continue to face.