Ransomware attacks in Singapore massively surged in 2019

Ransomware attacks in Singapore massively surged in 2019

A new report states that cyber threats, including ransomware attacks, in Singapore increased in number and complexity in 2019.

These findings were released in the Singapore Cyber Landscape (SCL) 2019 report that was compiled by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA).

Attacks on the rise

The report noted that cyber threats against local industries increased in number last year in comparison to previous years. The Singapore Police Force had 9,430 cases of cybercrime reported in 2019. This number is a major increase from the 6,215 cases reported in 2018.


The CSA reported increases in website defacement, phishing, and malware attacks. Small and medium-sized businesses bore the brunt of the 873 website defacement attacks in 2019, an increase from the 605 cases reported in 2018.

Phishing saw a huge boom in 2019 in Singapore. There was a total of 16,100 Singapore-hosted phishing URLs found in 2018. That number exploded to 47,500 URLs in 2019, an almost threefold increase.

As for malware, the CSA found 530 command & control servers in the country last year while only 300 were found in 2018. It was also noted that the agency found a daily average of 2,300 botnet drones with Singapore IP addresses in 2019. In addition, almost 370 malware variants were found.

Ransomware jumps over 50 percent

A total of 21 ransomware attacks were reported in 2018, but that number jumped to 35 reports in 2019. The CSA says the victims of such attacks were mostly in the travel and tourism, manufacturing, and logistics industries.


The increasing number of cyber threats in Singapore last year mirrored the rest of the world. The CSA expects such attacks to increase in number over the foreseeable future due to greater reliance upon cloud computing and more people working from home due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

David Koh, Commissioner of Cybersecurity and Chief Executive of CSA, said, “As one of the most connected countries in the world, Singapore remains a target for cyber-attacks and cybercrime. Threat actors have continued to evolve their tactics, resulting in an intensification of malicious cyber activities in 2019.”

He added, “The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has also provided new opportunities and attack surfaces for them to capitalize on. Cybersecurity is a team sport, and now, more than ever, we must come together to do our part to protect our cyberspace.”

The reality is that malware attacks, such as ransomware, are likely to grow in number as more and more of the world’s business and communication is moved into the digital sphere.

Images courtesy of Jason Goh, Jason Goh, Pete Linforth/Pixabay

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