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Security

Dan Swinhoe (Asia)- Why Cyber-Crime in Singapore is a Goldmine

Firstly, some good news! According to Symantec, Singapore's number of viruses per computer is less than half the global rate.

While that is an impressive stat, it doesn't mean Singapore is free from cyber-crime. Far from it in fact. 72% of adults online in Singapore have been a victim of cybercrime in their lifetime, 48% were in the past year. On average, the direct financial cost per victim is $657.According to Norton's 2012 Cybercrime Report, that equates to more than 1.4 million people suffering approximately US$944 million in direct financial losses.

If that sounds like a lot, it's because it is. The global average is $197. Norton puts this down to greater affluence among Singaporeans and higher levels of credit card fraud. Overall though, Singapore's cost of cybercrime is lower than other Asian countries; China lost $46 billion, while India's saw $8 billion losses. "Cybercriminals are changing their tactics to target fast growing mobile platforms and social networks where consumers are less aware of security risks," said Effendy Ibrahim, internet safety advocate and Director for Norton Asia.

Although the spam rate is 1% lower than world average, it has still been rising slightly this year. Phishing activity accounted for one in 752 e-mails in Australia and one in 2,241 in Hong Kong. This activity was one in 3,451 for Singapore and one in 7,449 for Japan. One in 902 mails in Singapore was identified as malicious with one in 2,084 in Japan. And as Virtualization becomes more popular, the market earned revenues of $48.4 million in 2011 and estimates this to reach $549.6 million in 2017, security should also start becoming a top concern. "End users need to be made aware that virtualizing a business environment without implementing adequate security measures may be counterproductive, as it could increase costs and reduce agility," said Frost & Sullivan, industry manager Cathy Huang.

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Social media-based crime is on the rise, with people suffering account hacks, scams or fake links, while 31% of mobile users in Singapore have received a text message from someone they did not know requesting that they click on an embedded link or dial an unknown number to retrieve a "voicemail". Mobiles are a big source of crime, and with smartphone sales up 78% across the whole South East Asia region on 2011, chances are this trend will increase, especially with so many new pieces of Andriod malware being released. Part of the problem is that 70% of adults do not use a security solution for their mobile device, and up to 43% are not aware that security solutions for mobile devices even exist. Education on technology is normally of a very good quality so that figure is surprising.

Though Singapore isn't as badly affected by cybercrime as some countries- the people being affected are losing out because they aren't being careful enough. Cyber criminals prey on people who don't pay proper care an attention to the security of their devices, and despite all the technology people can put in place, the only way the cost of cyber-crime can be reduced is through better education and awareness.

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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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