INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Financial losses from cyber attacks skyrocketed 680% from 2012-2016

Banks are especially vulnerable to threats.

Financial losses related to technology crime cases have ballooned by a whopping 680% over the five-year period from 2012-2016 as Hong Kong’s wealth and connectivity continues to be a prime target for criminals with malicious cyber agendas. 

The number of cyber investigations conducted by PwC Cyber practice arm correspondingly increased five-fold from 2016-2017 in response to the growing volume of cyber crime in the SAR.

“We see a real danger of Hong Kong businesses falling five years behind on cyber defence levels and a lack of readiness to detect and remediate cyber threats,” Kok Tin Gan, PwC Hong Kong cybersecurity and privacy partner said in a statement.

Also read: High-paying jobs open in cybersecurity and mobile development

The health department fell victim to a cyber attack in August after three computers in the Infection Control Branch, Clinical Genetic Service and Drug Office were hit by a malicious ransomware that made users unable to access files. Banks are also another prominent attack target with about 90 reported cases of fraudulent banking websites in October YTD.

A study by Microsoft revealed that cyber attacks could easily wipe out about 10% of Hong Kong's GDP or around $249.6b annually over the next few years. Organisations with more than 500 employees may suffer an average loss of US$24.9 which takes into account ransom money, stock price changes and reputational damage. 

“In the era of smart devices and digital transactions, a company’s data is more vulnerable to breaches. Businesses must equip themselves with the latest security defenses and - more critically -hire cyber professionals to detect and defend against cyber-crime,” added Felix Kan director, PwC Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Privacy.

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