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Communities and organisations in Singapore have always been under threat of cyberattacks owing to the fact that the country has one of the most developed digital economies in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region.
Due to the high exposure to virtual attack, the much-needed data protection legislation has been established by the government to protect the businesses in the country. This has led to Singapore being ranked first in the latest survey titled the Deloitte Cyber Smart Index 2020.
Commissioned by top enterprise software manufacturer, VMware, the report sheds light on the levels of both “cyber preparedness” and “cyber risk exposure” of nations in APAC.
Being at the top of the ranking for both exposure levels and preparation, Singapore has enough awareness to establish a data security review committee. The task of the committee is to study and enhance data security policies within the country.
Added to this, the rate of information communication technology (ICT) penetration in the country is the highest in the APCA region. The legal and organizational frameworks also incorporate a sound awareness of cybersecurity-related issues.
Other countries in APAC, such as Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and Australia show a matured understanding of cybersecurity affairs, as evidenced by their higher rankings in cyber preparedness, digital legislation as well as research and development (R&D).
Malaysia and some of its neighbouring countries have a low level of exposure to cyberattacks. However, despite the relatively poorer organizational capabilities, Malaysia has a comprehensive privacy regime was well as a robust regulatory corporation between the government, regulatory agencies and organizations, the survey found.
According to the survey, Indonesia has the least amount of reported cyber risks but it is also least ready to deal with cyber intrusions. On the other hand, Australia has higher exposure to cyber risks and it is also more ready to deal with cybersecurity issues as evidenced by its high level of R&D investment and cyber education.
Australia is also in stark contrast to Indonesia and Vietnam. Vietnam experiences the highest incidence of cyberattacks in the APAC region although it ranks 11th in the ranking of cyber exposure. The survey suggests that this is due to the lack of comprehensive Vietnamese law to address privacy breaches and data security, thus highlighting the unpreparedness to respond to cybercrime.
Another country with a high rate of cyberattacks is Thailand, who is behind Vietnam in APAC. The renewed interest in cryptocurrencies and the rapid adoption of online devices mean that it is running a higher risk exposure in the short term.
Based on the evaluations by Deloitte’s cyber analysts, the survey findings are produced by weighing different factors to gauge cyber preparedness and cyber risk exposure in regional nations.
Factors such as (1) size of attack surface, (2) frequency of attacks (3) estimated value being risked are used to produce the measure for exposure. Also, preparedness was indexed by taking a policymaking and legal approach to analysing the growing cyber threats to businesses, among others.
The survey also stated that Singapore was a top performer in terms of its willingness to continuously invest in cybersecurity funding in order to more effectively handle cyber threats.
To incentivize local enterprises to focus on upgrading their security countermeasures, the country is launching a national cybersecurity plan as well as providing a USD$30 million (S$ 42.81 million) grant.

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