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The Big Lowdown On Cybersecurity

As a business, digitalization is a boon. From the ease of online payments to gathering analytical data, going digital can be one of the best things for a business – that is until you realize that your data is gone.

You log in to your software program, as you always do, only to discover that the personal data of your clientele has disappeared. Moments later, you receive an anonymous email from an unknown sender who threatens to release these details unless paid an exorbitant amount of cash.

Sounds like a movie plot? Not so much. The above scenario happened to Vhive, a local furniture retailer, whose servers were breached by hacker group Altdos as recently as 2021. Altdos threatened to leak 20,000 customer records daily until Vhive’s management agreed to meet their demands.

The stark reality is that Singapore’s vibrant economy for opportunities makes it one of the most prone in the region to cyber attacks. In fact, cyber attacks in Singapore surged in the first quarter of 2021. Over 2 million web threats were detected in Singapore just this year – an astonishing increase of 262.5% compared to the same period last year.

But what does this mean for your business? Do these cyber attacks negate the benefits of digitalization and how can you protect yourself? Continue reading to find out more.


The hidden risks of remote working

It goes without saying that the pandemic has caused shifts in both our personal lifestyles and how businesses operate. One prominent change includes remote working, where many employees are now working from home.

While many welcomed this new change with open arms, the setup – and by extension, security – of home spaces may not be as secure as we think it is.

Simply put, when was the last time you updated your software?

Home networks are often shared between multiple Internet-connected devices, with many networks lacking a secure firewall. These unsecured networks often result in a network security gap for cyberhackers to exploit.

In fact, remote working arrangements have been directly cited as a primary cause for the rise in cyber attacks in Singapore. About eight in 10 public and private-sector organizations attributed such working arrangements to the increase in cyber attacks across the board.

Now, imagine this: your office was broken into by thieves who ransacked every file cabinet and cupboard. What would you do?

You would definitely call the authorities to report the incident and ensure tighter security around the premises. You would even invest in more secure locks for your office to prevent another robbery from happening again.

So what happens when this physical invasion becomes one of a digital nature? How can you better protect your company from cyber attacks that are just as dire to your business as the imagined situation up above?

In 2020, up to seven in 10 cyber attacks were serious enough to be reported to regulators or call in an incident response team.

It can happen to anyone

While many mistake cyber attacks to happen only to large businesses, the recent trend in cyber attacks reveal that breaches to security are indiscriminate and can happen to any business – regardless of type, industry, or size.

It can even happen to governments too.

In 2019, the HMI Institute of Healthcare Sciences was fined $35,000 for a data security breach that exposed the personal information of 98,000 Ministry of Defence staff and Singapore Armed Forces servicemen.

Similarly, the Tripartite Alliance Limited (TAL), which oversees the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep) and handles employment disputes, was fined $29,000 in 2020 after the hackers accessed the data of about 20,000 people – citing a lack of “reasonable security arrangements” for the breach.

Are you cyber-ready?

You would think that with these security breaches, businesses would have extensive measures in place to safeguard themselves against such attacks.

Think again.

According to a PwC Survey, while most businesses express confidence in their cybersecurity measures, only 53% of respondents had antivirus solutions in place –  indicating that many have not deployed the most basic cybersecurity tools.

[Our] survey reveals a discrepancy between their confidence in their cybersecurity capabilities and their actual cyber-readiness. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are viewed as easy targets by attackers, as they do not have the substantial cybersecurity resources dedicated to protecting larger enterprises.

Kenneth Wong, Risk Assurance Cybersecurity & Privacy Asia Pacific

Don’t be an easy target

So what can you do for your business?

Upgrading the cybersecurity of your business network is one such means to ensuring your business is protected against cyber attacks. However, this can only be effective for so long until cyber hackers become more sophisticated in their methods of cyber attacks.

This is evident in the recent breach of local telecommunications company Singtel – one of the largest in the industry – that found itself the victim of a data breach that exploited a “previously unknown vulnerability”. The ensuing attack exposed the data of nearly 130,000 customers.

With that, a more holistic and effective solution for your business would be cyber insurance.

Not only does cyber insurance ensure that your business will be covered financially in the event of a cyber attack, it provides you with the invaluable peace of mind knowing your business is well-covered!

Wrap up

The digital age has undeniably brought about a new wave of opportunities for businesses to build themselves. However, it has also unwillingly left businesses vulnerable to the exploits of cyber hackers.

To protect themselves from such exploits, it is important that business owners not only educate themselves on such attacks but protect their businesses at all costs.

It’s time for a mindset shift to update the way you risk-proof your business – and the time is now.

To assess and find out how else you can strengthen your cyber security, download our free insurance checklist here!

As the entrepreneurs and SMEs’ preferred operating system, we are here to advise and support you through rain or shine, cyber attacks, data loss, restoration, and recovery. Not sure how to begin your journey of protecting your precious assets as an online publisher, or unsure of how to manage potential data breaches?

Let our experts guide and walk you through step-by-step on how to best protect your business, so you can run your business with assurance and excellence. Even beyond cyber insurance, be it public liability or professional indemnity insurance, we have a plan for you.

Find out more about our insurance services here. Talk to our sales team to get started!


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