Singapore is one of the “Cyber Five” vulnerable to cyberattacks according to Deloitte report.
The Republic is among the region’s five most vulnerable countries when it comes to cyberattacks, according to a 2016 report by consultancy Deloitte released on Tuesday (Feb 26).
According to the Asia-Pacific Defence Outlook 2016, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Singapore – dubbed the “Cyber Five” – appear “nine times more vulnerable to cyberattacks” compared to other Asian economies as they are the most heavily dependent on Internet-based interactions.
South Korea came up tops for cyber risk in 2014 due to its rapid move towards ubiquitous wireless access, the report said.
In contrast, the most populous nations in the region – China and India – appear much less vulnerable, according to Deloitte.
The consultancy firm said vulnerability to cyberattacks can be estimated and compared by examining how extensively each economy relies on Internet-based interactions.
“Deloitte compiled historical data from the World Bank’s World Development Indicator to develop a Cyber Vulnerability Index using each nation’s rate of mobile cell subscribers, number of secure Internet servers, fixed broadband subscribers and rate of Internet use,” it said.
It added that the index does not include key aspects of national vulnerability and risk, including the level of security and countermeasures in place, the number of military and government systems exposed to the internet and other variables.
Singapore ranked fifth on the index, scoring 399 in 2014, compared to 224 in 2008. South Korea was tops with a score of 884 in terms of cyber vulnerability, compared to 329 in 2008. In comparison, the global average for cyber vulnerability in 2008 was 100.
The report added that the wide gap in vulnerability between the “Cyber Five” and the other Asia-Pacific economies may point towards an emerging defence challenge. For instance, China and India, despite being ranked low on the Cyber Vulnerability Index, have committed to building advanced cyber capabilities.
“The lower-vulnerability nations may therefore by prepared to behave more aggressively in cyberspace, because their potential adversaries are much more exposed to Internet-based damage,” the report said.
Deloitte added that the disproportionate vulnerability of the “Cyber Five” to economic damage from cyberattacks is a product of economic development and may decline over the long term.
“In the near term, the vulnerability gap indicates that collaborative approaches may not be adequate to deter attacks against Internet-based infrastructure. Cyber defence policies that rely on quid pro quo retaliation in cyberspace may work for the less-advanced economies, but the Cyber Five are likely to require other policy approaches,” it said.
“Threatening disproportionate or unpredictable retaliation for cyberattacks, including responses outside cyberspace, for example, trade measures or other economic sanctions, may be essential elements of a rational cyber policy for the highly-vulnerable Cyber Five,” the report added.