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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Singapore: Cyber-security challenges set to grow in 2007

If anything, the common prognosis among security vendors is that cyber-crooks are likely to get smarter and the deluge of unsolicited e-mail will continue to be the bane of Internet users in the year to come.  ‘The greatest challenge we seem to be facing today is that there has been a major shift in cyber-attacks, and thus cyber-security. Viruses are no longer spread through mass attacks, but rather through attacks which are calculated and far more targeted, targeting individuals who can be exploited through vulnerabilities in their systems,’ said Eric Chong, country manager, consumer/SOHO segmentation of security software maker Trend Micro.  Echoing his sentiment, Bill Robbins, Symantec’s senior vice-president of Asia-Pacific and Japan, said: ‘One of the major challenges we face is an evolving threat environment.  ‘2006 was a year in which professional crime organisations blanketed the Internet seeking financial gain with criminal intent,’ added Benjamin Low, Secure Computing’s country manager for the Asean and India region.

Indeed, recognising that money is now the driving force behind most malicious hacking attempts, the local financial sector has already taken steps to tighten security for their Internet transactions.  This comes after several attempts by hackers to spoof the online banking portals of local banks, with OCBC falling prey to such a phishing scam earlier this year.  To meet a mandate spelt out by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, banks operating in Singapore have all rolled out so-called two-factor authentication tools in the last few months.

Threats have become Web-based and these have exploited those who have become comfortable with making transactions online,’ added Trend Micro’s Mr Chong.  While technology-based defences are improving, they must be complemented by a security-conscious mindset to be more effective.  ‘It has been especially challenging trying to educate Singaporeans about the risks on the Internet and thus to educate them on how to get protected,’ said Mr Chong.  ‘In Asia, consumers are still thinking about virus attacks on a big scale, while the consumers in the US and Europe are already feeling the impact of targeted attacks that have caused financial losses through the compromise of their personal information,’ he added.,4574,218959,00.html?

Posted on 12/21