Six alarming trends in cyber security

The Cyber Security Agency of Singapore said that cyber criminals will try even harder to breach electronic databases as data becomes the most valued currency in cyberspace. PHOTO: REUTERS


With data becoming the most valued currency or "commodity" in cyberspace, the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) said that cyber criminals will try even harder to breach electronic databases.

Those that store large amounts of private and personal information will be the biggest targets.

The data breach involving healthcare cluster SingHealth was Singapore's worst cyber attack, with the personal information of more than 1.5 million patients - including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong - stolen by hackers in June last year.


Supply chains that consumers depend on for goods are increasingly becoming interconnected and automated, thanks to technology. But the CSA warns that cyber criminals are trying to disrupt them.

This could be for reasons such as extracting data from the companies involved in these supply chains or holding them to ransom. Industries dominated by a few firms are especially vulnerable as problems in one stage of production could lead to a breakdown in the entire chain.


An increasing number of databases are being hosted in the cloud, which is where software and systems are designed specifically to be deployed over a network.

This means cyber criminals will try to exploit potential vulnerabilities in cloud infrastructure.


The advent of Internet of Things devices and connected industrial control systems in buildings and factories might improve and quicken, but it also means they are open to more danger. As these buildings and systems become "smarter", the risk of them being attacked to hold their owners to ransom, or exploited to spread malware or conduct distributed denial-of-service attacks, also increases, the CSA said.


AI will be able to enhance the capabilities of security systems in cases such as detecting unusual behaviour and rolling out appropriate responses and mitigation measures in the case of an attack. But the CSA warned that threat actors can also use AI to search for vulnerabilities.

It could also potentially be used to create malicious software that bypasses existing online security measures in an organisation.


As biometric authentication, such as the use of fingerprints or facial scanning, becomes increasingly common, threat actors will shift to target and manipulate biometric data to build virtual identities and gain access to personal information.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 18, 2019, with the headline Six alarming trends in cyber security. Subscribe