Computer Crime Research Center


Commonwealth experts meet in Singapore to explore solutions to increasing cyber risks in Asia

Date: September 30, 2022
Source: Computer Crime Research Center

On 20-21 September, the Commonwealth Secretariat held a conference on addressing cybercrime in Asia, which saw law enforcement officials, prosecutors, judges and magistrates, key domestic policymakers, international security experts, and academics deliberate on solutions to the region’s growing cybercrime and cybersecurity challenges.

The conference was prompted by increasing internet penetration rates and the rapid adoption of digital technologies, which have brought immense benefits to the Asia region while increasing its vulnerability to cybercrime and cybersecurity risks.

Delegates exchanged views on the types, trends and impact of cybercrime, the importance of cyber diplomacy and mutual legal assistance, and practical solutions to securing electronic evidence across territorial borders.

Growing cybersecurity risk
In his opening remarks, Dr Tawanda Hondora, Head Rule of Law Section at the Commonwealth Secretariat, said:

“Cybercrime poses serious risks to countries’ strategic interests, including trade and investment. It is also a risk to key economic sectors, critical national infrastructure, defence and security interests, democratic institutions and systems, and of course, the health, safety and well-being of each and every one of us and, of course, the most vulnerable in society, including children.”

Dr Hondora added that many experts agree that the Asia region is the most targeted by ransomware attacks.

In her opening remarks, HE Kara Owen CMG, British High Commissioner to Singapore also highlighted the risks posed by cybercrime and cybersecurity threats, including the impact on intellectual property rights regimes, the impact on critical national infrastructure, and the significant disruptions to businesses and key services sectors. She also noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had amplified these challenges.

According to a Check Point Research report, the Asian Pacific region experienced a 168% year-on-year increase in cyberattacks in May 2021 compared to May 2020.

The top countries to experience the largest increase in cyberattacks in the Asia-Pacific region were Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia with a 40%, 30%, 25%, and 22% increase, respectively.

Ransomware, scams, Crime as a Service attacks (the practice of cybercriminals selling access to the tools and knowledge needed to execute cybercrime), hacking and Denial of Service Attacks (attacks designed to crash IT systems) were cited as some of the top cyber threats in Asia.

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