What Investors Should Know About A Rise In Ransomware Incidents And Singapore Telecommunications Limited

Ransomware is malicious software that locks sensitive information on a computer system until the owner or user pays to release the lock. In Singapore, the organization that is tasked to fight against ransomware is the Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team, otherwise known as SingCert.

Here’s a chart from SingCert showing how ransomware works:

Source: SingCert

Singapore has seen a sharp increase in ransomware incidents, as reported by the Business Times last week. As an example, SingCert received only two incidents of ransomware for the whole of 2015, but in the first eight months of 2016 alone, it has had to deal with 17 ransomware cases.

SingCert notes that “currently, recovery of any data infected by ransomware is extremely difficult.” The best way to fight ransomware is to prevent it from taking root in the first place.

The emergence of ransomware highlights the growing importance of cybersecurity as Singapore heads towards its Smart Nation vision. Being a Smart Nation would see plenty of devices and systems being connected wirelessly. This could create fertile ground for cyber-attacks.

One company in Singapore’s stock market that is in the business of cybersecurity is actually Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SGX: Z74). Back in April 2015, Singtel spent US$810 million to acquire Trustwave, the largest independent managed security services provider in North America. Singtel has also partnered with the US-based FireEye Inc to provide managed cyber defense solutions in the Asia Pacific region.

While Singtel generates most of its revenue now from providing telecommunications services, it has identified cyber-security as one of its key growth drivers. Some estimates have pegged the global managed security services market to be able to grow from US$15 billion in 2015 to US$27 billion in 2019.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Ong Kai Kiat doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.