Singapore SMEs hit by cyber breaches, but fare better than regional counterparts

Half have suffered losses of $500,000, while the most common methods that attackers used to infiltrate their systems include malware and phishing.

cyber attack, risk management, security

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Over the past year, two in five SMEs in Singapore have been victims of cyber attacks, and more than half (56%) have reported a loss in customer information to cyber attackers as a result.

Even so, Singapore is reported to be managing these cybersecurity risks better than the rest of the region as the regional average shows that one in two across Asia Pacific have suffered from a cyber attack – with 75% of them reporting a loss in customer information due to the incident.

According to a Cisco study, Cyber security for SMBs: Asia Pacific Businesses Prepare for Digital Defense, the methods that attackers commonly used to infiltrate their systems include malware attacks and phishing – with malware being the most common for SMEs in Singapore at 79%, followed by phishing attacks at 71%.

Apart from the loss of customer data, SMEs have also suffered from loss of employee data (51%), financial information (51%), internal emails (49%), sensitive business information (49%), and money through financial fraud (49%). Additionally, 52% admitted to the attacks having a negative impact on their reputation.

Furthermore, disruptions cause by cyber incidents have serious implications on SMEs. More than nine in 10 (93%) SMEs in Singapore shared that downtime of more than an hour results in severe operational disruptions and even loss in revenue (90%), while one third of SMEs (36%) revealed that downtime of more than a day would results in permanent closure of their organisation.

The tangible effects of these disruptions can also be seen in the form of financial losses, with more than half of SMEs sharing that the cyber attacks over the past 12 months cost them $500,000 or more with – with 11% saying that the impact was $1 million or more.

“Cyber security is evolving rapidly. This is being driven by trends like the expanding attack surface, move to multi-cloud, rise of hybrid work, as well as new security requirements and regulations,” said Kerry Singleton, Managing Director, Cybersecurity, Asia Pacific, Japan, China, Cisco.

The study is based on an independent, double-blinded survey of over 3,700 business and IT leaders with cybersecurity responsibilities across 14 markets in Asia Pacific, including 153 respondents in Singapore.

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