Asia-Pacific cyber-attack risks in line with global trends but high attack expectations remain for 2023

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Cyber-attack risks in the Asia-Pacific region decreased to a moderate level last year, mirroring the global trend, yet a recent survey found that 78% of organisations worldwide anticipate successful attacks occurring in 2023.

Jon Clay, 42 years old, vice-president of threat intelligence at multinational cybersecurity software company Trend Micro, stated that the global cyber-risk index (CRI) shifted into positive territory for the first time. He said this suggests organisations may be taking measures to enhance their cybersecurity preparedness, but more still needs to be done, particularly as employees continue to pose a risk.

The Tokyo-based firm’s seventh index, in partnership with research group Ponemon Institute, evaluates an organisation’s readiness to combat various types of cyber-attacks. The scores vary from +10 to -10, with the latter representing the highest risk level.

During the second half of last year, the CRI globally rose to a moderate 0.01, up from -0.15 in the first half. The cyber-preparedness index also saw improvement, increasing from 5.24 to 5.34 in the same time frame.

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The survey, which gathered data from 3,729 organisations, reported that “the good news is that organisations are making changes to improve their preparedness for attacks”. Regional results also reflected this global trend, with the CRI demonstrating better cybersecurity preparedness in Europe and the Asia-Pacific, moving from -0.12 to 0.12 and from -0.11 to 0.05, respectively.

North America saw a slight improvement with an increase in scores from -0.33 to -0.10 over the past six months, while Latin America remained at -0.03. Despite the overall rise in the index, the majority of organisations surveyed still held a pessimistic view of their outlook for the year. Approximately eight in ten respondents believed it would be “somewhat to very likely” they would experience a successful cyber-attack (78%), a customer data breach (70%), or a critical data IP breach (69%).

In comparison to the previous report, these figures represent reductions of 1%, 2%, and 7%, respectively. The study indicates that one of the main concerns for businesses regarding cybersecurity preparedness is not knowing the physical location of vital data assets.

Top concerns regarding cyber-attacks include disruption or damage to critical infrastructure, decreased productivity, the cost of external consultants and experts, regulatory actions or lawsuits, and damage to reputation or brand.

Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of Ponemon Institute, highlighted the importance of focusing on technology solutions, as well as people and processes, to help mitigate risks associated with the shift to hybrid work. He said, “Organisations are rightly concerned about the risk posed by negligent employees and the infrastructure used to support remote workers,” reports Bangkok Post.

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