70% of Singapore Citizens Preyed Upon by Cyber Criminals, Few Seek Help

Many small businesses say they don't have time to report crime.

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Credit card fraud, phishing, and online scams are plaguing Singapore, according to new reports from Symantec, but only half of victims seek help, a fact that leaves Internet users feeling helpless and frustrated. According to Symantec, 30% of small and medium-sized businesses in Singapore have seen an increase in cybercrimes recently, a finding that is surprising, given that just this week Singapore was rated as the third most competitive economy in the world, which presumably means a safe online working environment.

Symantec, an online security company, may be biased, but their findings nevertheless raise worthy questions. Why don't Internet users report cybercrimes? The primary reasons are time and cost, according to Symantec. With an average cost of over $1,000 and over 20 days to reach full resolution, it's no wonder so few victims report and resolve cybercrimes.

Consider also that Singapore is locked in a tough competition with Hong Kong to be the leading economic hub in Asia. According to Symantec, spam levels in Hong Kong are at an astronomical 92%, and virus levels are at 1 in 505.5.

In Singapore, IT departments spend two thirds of their time blocking criminal attempts and $51,000 annually on information protection. "This is double the time and 27.5% more money than they spend on other computing tasks," Symantec says.

And in terms of disaster recovery? "Sixty percent have either a plan that is not well-documented or needs work. 16% have no plan at all."

Globally, 65% of respondents from 14 countries say they have been victims of cybercrimes, including hacking, phishing, and credit card fraud. China has the highest percentages of cybercrime occurrence, as 83% of respondents reported being victims, followed by India and Brazil (76%), and the U.S. (73%).

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  • Steven Ho

    Here are some of my thoughts from my experiences in the Singapore online retail scene.

    I have to agree that more often than not in our haste to move fast (sometime too fast) to grab that  business advantages we Singaporean entrepreneurs can be too cavalier about proper planning and security. Personally my observation is that the majority of Singaporeans might mistake our low crime rates with a taken for granted attitude towards being alert and prudent both off and online.

    Of course, one way to mitigate cyber risk is to associate with and ride on the more secured and battle tested platforms of the internet big boys like Yahoo in particular their Yahoo!Store, and Amazon's web store services. People are always the weakest link in any security plan so its still up to every individual in our companies to step up to the challenge.  

    However i think the balancing act of growth actions vs careful planning is something that Singapore can succeed in, in the long run.