Singapore ranked No. 6 globally for having most number of exposed databases | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack

SINGAPORE – Singapore has the dubious honour of ranking No. 6 in the world for having the most databases exposed to the Web last year which hackers could easily breach and exploit.

The number of such susceptible databases here was also found to have grown steadily throughout the year with increased digitalisation during the pandemic, according to the study released on Wednesday (April 27) by cyber-security firm Group-IB.

This suggests that while many organisations went digital during Covid-19, database security might not have kept up.

The United States took top spot with close to 93,700 exposed databases found, followed by China with nearly 54,800. Germany was a distant third with almost 11,200 databases. Sixth-placed Singapore had almost 5,900.

Globally, 308,000 databases detected last year were potentially open to hackers.

This comes at a time when cyber threats here have grown. A Cyber Security Agency of Singapore report last July showed that “zombie” devices linked to the Internet and infected with malware that allows hackers to control them and launch cyber attacks, trebled in numbers here during the pandemic.

Under Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act, a company can be fined up to $1 million for a data breach. But from Oct 1, this will be raised to a maximum of 10 per cent of the company’s annual turnover in Singapore or $1 million, whichever is higher.

Databases opened to hackers are a concern.

“When an exposed database gets accessed by an unauthorised malicious party, the consequences can range from a data breach to a subsequent follow-up attack on the employees or customers whose information was left unsecured,” said Mr Tim Bobak, Group-IB’s attack surface management product lead. Group-IB is one of Interpol’s official partners and has worked with its cybercrime team.

Mr Bobak said that Singapore’s number of databases is found to be higher than other territories and this might simply reflect the fact that it is a highly developed area that hosts a larger number of information technology assets.

“Another reason might be the high level of digitalisation in Singapore,” he said.

Group-IB had scanned the four most popular and commonly used database management systems globally between the first quarter of last year and the second quarter of this year. The scan did not collect and analyse the content of any exposed databases found and it was not clear which organisations the databases belonged to.

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