Cyberthreats hit 89% organizations in Singapore

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McAfee Enterprise and FireEye today released Cybercrime in a Pandemic World: The Impact of COVID-19 findings, revealing the imminent need for organizations to prioritize and strengthen their cybersecurity architecture. The findings indicated during the pandemic 89% of Singapore organizations experienced increased cyber threats, with 81% experiencing downtime due to a cyber incident during a peak season. With the upcoming mega sales season this November and expansion of Safe Travel Lanes in Singapore before the holiday season, ecommerce and retail, travel, and supply chain and logistics industries see predictable increases in consumer and business activity- making them more vulnerable to cyber threats and leaving businesses, employees and consumers data at risk.  

“It is imperative that all business of scale evaluate and prioritize security technology to keep them protected, especially during peak seasons like the holidays,” said Bryan Palma, CEO of the newly combined company. “Traditional approaches are no longer enough – 94% want their organization to improve its overall cyber readiness – and businesses need an integrated security architecture and an always on approach to prevent, protect and react to the threats of today.”

Heighted Focus on Key Industries

In addition to increased consumer spending, the holiday season sees a significant impact on industries coping with the increase in consumer demands. Nearly all Singapore organizations (92%) are anticipating a moderate to substantial increase in demand during the 2021 holiday season. This year, the “everything shortage” is real – from a shortage in workforce to limited supplies to lack of services to deliver goods.  This creates an urgency for organizations to have actionable security plans and to effectively contain and respond to threats.

Ecommerce & Retail

According to a 2021 study by Facebook and Bain & Company, ecommerce sales in Southeast Asia will nearly double to reach US$254 billion by 2026. Even with the lifting of pandemic restrictions and reopening of brick-and-mortar stores, the shift to online shopping in Southeast Asia has only continued to accelerate. Riding on the holiday season, year-end mega sale festivals such as 11.11 will likely see a surge in ecommerce traffic and sales, making the industry a prime target for cyber criminals. According to McAfee Enterprise COVID-19 dashboard, the global retail industry accounts for 5.2% of the total detected cyberthreats. Such threats include compromised payment credentials and cloud storage, as well as other forms of retail fraud and theft.


Cyber threats aren’t new to the travel industry – airports, airlines, travel sites and ride sharing apps have been victims in years past. However, this industry has been in a holding pattern because of travel restrictions. According to a United Nations report, Southeast Asia could suffer an 8.4% loss to its Gross Domestic Production (GDP) due to the pandemic. The government’s reopening strategy, such as the extension of Singapore’s vaccinated travel lane scheme to 13 countries, is expected to unleash pent-up demand for travel that will uplift sales and booking. As the demand for holiday travel will increase over the coming months, the reality is that cyber criminals are following the trends of limited flight options due to labor shortages, supply chain issues, new travel bans and vaccination requirements and profiting from vulnerabilities as much as they can.

Supply Chain & Logistics

According to BCI’s Global Supply Chain Resilience Report 2021, 27.8% of organizations reported more than 20 supply chain disruptions during 2020, up from just 4.8 percent reporting the same number in 2019. The loss of manufacturing and logistics capacity and employee-power, paired with increasing demand for goods, has created the perfect attack vector for cybercriminals: a potentially weak and vulnerable infrastructure to break through. Supply chain managers must identify risks, understand the potential downstream effects of a security breach or cyberattack, and prepare response plans so that they can act quickly in the event of an incident.

What Organizations Need to Know

While IT professionals know cyber threats have intensified, the findings prove that Singapore organizations have not effectively prioritized security during COVID:

  • 66% saw an increase in online/web activity
  • 31% have had their technology and security budgets reduced
  • 62% have suffered from downtime due to a cyber concern, costing some over $100,000 USD
  • 91% find maintaining a fully staffed security team/SOC even more challenging during peak periods

“Key challenges impacting businesses globally create the perfect catalyst for cybercriminals to capitalize,” continued Palma. “To protect their bottom-line during holiday spikes in activity, now is the time for enterprises and commercial businesses to ensure they’re outfitted with the cybersecurity architecture needed to address the most aggressive and innovative threat.”

Addressing Emerging Threats

There are ways for organizations to be proactive and actionable against cybercrime, such as implementing security measures and industry-wide cybersecurity requirements, providing cybersecurity awareness training for employees, and developing prevention and response plans. In addition, enterprises and commercial business can implement cloud-delivered security with MVISION Unified Cloud Edge (UCE) and FireEye Extended Detection and Response (XDR).  

Cybercrime in a Pandemic World: The Impact of COVID-19 Survey Methodology:

McAfee Enterprise and FireEye commissioned a global independent market research specialist MSI-ACI to undertake the research for this study. Between September and October 2021, the quantitative study was carried out, interviewing 1,451 IT and line of business decision makers. Respondents came from the U.S., U.K., Australia, France, Germany, India, Singapore, South Africa and UAE. Respondents had to be an IT business professional, involved in IT security and work for an organization with more than 500 employees.

Interviews were conducted online using a rigorous multi-level screening process to ensure that only suitable candidates were given the opportunity to participate.

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