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4 Nov 2022 | Asia Cyber Summary

In the spotlight this week:

  • Singapore Unveils New Cyber-focused Military Service
  • The Inaugural U.S.-Singapore Cyber Dialogue
  • Osaka Hospital Suspends Services After Ransomware Attack
  • Australian Defence Department Caught Up in Ransomware Attack
  • Australia says State-sponsored Attacks from China, Russia, and Iran Made Cyber Space a ‘Battleground’

Singapore Unveils New Cyber-focused Military Service

Singapore has officially inaugurated its fourth military branch in an effort to address current cyber threats and leverage developing technologies in the digital domain. The new Digital and Intelligence Service (DIS) will be more thoroughly integrated with the Singaporean military’s capabilities to address a variety of security threats by taking advantage of cutting-edge digital technology in fields like cloud computing, data science, and AI. Singapore also plans to establish a dedicated cyber range in order to educate personnel on simulated “cyber terrain” that consists of vital infrastructure systems and enterprise information systems.  Additionally, the range will be used to conduct bilateral and multilateral exercises that will bring together the military, industry, and academia "to share best practices, insights, and knowledge."

The Inaugural U.S.-Singapore Cyber Dialogue

Co-chaired by Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) and the United States Ambassador at Large for Cyberspace and Digital Policy, The United States and Singapore has conducted the inaugural United States-Singapore Cyber Dialogue (USSCD). Officials spoke about supply chain security, regional cyber capacity building, cyber talent and workforce development, bilateral cooperation in multinational and regional fora, information sharing, protection of critical information infrastructure, countering ransomware, and fighting online fraud during the dialogue.

Osaka Hospital Suspends Services After Ransomware Attack

A hospital in Osaka says it has suspended non-emergency outpatient services and operations following a ransomware attack on its electronic medical record system. The hacker allegedly sent an email written in English, demanding a ransom payment in Bitcoin to decrypt all files on the hospital’s server. Hospital staff are currently using paper medical records, according to the officials, and it is unlikely that business as usual will resume anytime soon.

Australian Defence Department Caught Up in Ransomware Attack

The Department of Defence is concerned that a military communications infrastructure that was attacked by ransomware may have exposed personnel personal information, including dates of birth. Hackers targeted the ForceNet service, which is run by an external information and communications technology (ICT) provider. The company initially assured the Defense Department that no information about current or former employees appeared to have been compromised, however, a source with knowledge of the investigation said Defence believed some private details such as dates of birth and dates of enlisting may have been stolen, despite early indications to the contrary from the external provider.

Australia says State-sponsored Attacks from China, Russia, and Iran Made Cyber Space a ‘Battleground’

According to a government report released on Friday, there was an increase in cyberattacks on Australia last fiscal year from criminals and state-sponsored organizations, with one attack occurring every seven minutes. The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) received 76,000 cybercrime reports last financial year, up 13 per cent from the previous period, according to its latest annual cyber threat report. The research cautioned that state-sponsored attackers made cyberspace a "battleground" and identified attacks from China's Ministry of State Security, Iran, and Russian state-linked groups, even though just over half of attacks targeted individuals for fraud and theft. Over the course of the time, numerous attempts on Australian essential services were thwarted, including one in November 2021 on the publicly owned utility CS Energy, which produces a tenth of the country's energy.

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