SecurityBrief Asia logo
Asia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Hong Kong counts the opportunities and costs of leading fintech adoption rates

By Contributor
Fri 6 Dec 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Article by LexisNexis Risk Solutions market planning, fraud & identity director Cameron Church

Hong Kong suffered HK$147 million (US$18.8 million) in cybercrime damages in 2018, according to the Hong Kong Police Force.

However, this doesn’t capture the full magnitude of damage that is unfurling across Asia from an international community of cybercriminals, galvanised by rapid fintech adoption in the region.  

High early adoption rates and extensive mobile device use make Asia the ideal testing ground for fintech development.

The region leads global peers in new mobile payment, virtual banking and digital loans technology – in fact, mobile transactions in the region increased from less than 12 million in 2017 to over 55 million in 2018, according to recent cybercrime statistics reported by LexisNexis Risk Solutions.

However, the rapid race of digitising wallets and financial transactions in the region also makes it a prime target for financial crime.

Against this backdrop, it is increasingly clear that the pace of fintech development and adoption in the region has outstripped the evolution of the cybersecurity measures necessary to protect users.

Mobile payments are eCommerce's Achilles’ heel

This mismatch is particularly visible around mobile payments.

Ecommerce transactions in the APAC region have been subject to more than twice the rate of attacks as the rest of the world.

One of the most notable incidents occurred in May 2019, when the South China Morning Post reported that almost half a million accounts were compromised at one of Asia’s largest clothing retailers.

Leaked information included not only names and addresses but also credit card data.

This is just one in a rising tide of cyberattacks in the region, which increased by 480% in the second half of 2018 versus the same period the previous year.

On its current trajectory, the volume of attacks is expected to continue growing as 4.7 billion mobile users are expected to be online in Asia alone by 2020 – about 60% of the planet’s current population.

Many of these users are taking advantage of the convenience of mobile payments and mobile banking.

The rise of new consumer finance technologies is creating a renaissance of financial accessibility among those previously underserved by the traditional banking sector in Asia, particularly those in emerging economies such as China and in Southeast Asia.

Unfortunately, current cybersecurity practices place many of these new users on the frontline of a growing regional crisis.    

Hong Kong a cybercrime target of choice

As a leading financial centre in Asia, Hong Kong is no exception to the trend of rising fintech integration.

As a result, the market has emerged as a target of choice for cybercriminals looking to exploit cybersecurity vulnerabilities as new fintech applications arise.

Hong Kong initiated 79 million digital transactions in the second half of 2018, 52% of which were mobile transactions.

These 79 million transactions gave rise to a staggering 9 million automated “bot” cybersecurity attacks and 2.8 million human-initiated attacks, a new high for the market.

One example is a May 2019 attack in which a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange was hacked and lost more than US$40 million.

The company stated that the hackers used a variety of techniques such as “phishing, viruses and other attacks”, showing a sophisticated combination of bot and human-initiated attacks.

A key finding for Hong Kong is the variety and diversity of the origins of attacks recorded in the second half of 2018.

Canada was the leading origin for attacks launched on Hong Kong.

As a major international financial hub, this highlights the global scale of threats that Hong Kong – and other regional markets – is subject to.  

With fintech development still in its infancy, adoption rates are in some cases misaligned with the cybersecurity capabilities of service providers.

As a concerning indicator of this trend, the reported HK$147 million (US$18.8 million) lost to cybercrime in Hong Kong in 2018 appears to have had little impact on the appetites of consumers and financial institutions for digitalising Hong Kong’s economy.

At current growth rates, it is expected that Hong Kong will have digitalised over 60% of its entire economy by 2021, according to a recent study produced by Microsoft and IDC Asia/Pacific.

The global community is cautiously watching developments in Asia as lawmakers worldwide attempt to draft appropriate regulations for the emerging fintech industry.

How markets such as Hong Kong move to integrate emerging financial technology could serve as a template for regulations in markets across the globe, making cybersecurity vitally important for future innovation and growth in the industry.

LexisNexis and the Knowledge Burst logo are registered trademarks of RELX Inc. Copyright © 2019 LexisNexis.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Bitdefender, Cohesity, Fortinet & MODIFI
We round up all job appointments from June 27-30, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Juniper study reveals top AI trends in APAC region
Juniper's research shows an increase in enterprise artificial intelligence adoption over the last 12 months is yielding tangible benefits to organisations.
Story image
Research
New study reveals 51% of employees using unauthorised apps
The research shows that 92% of employees and managers in large enterprises want full control over applications, but they don't have it.
Story image
Cyber Criminal
Identity and access: the fight is on
Blue team defenders are used to protecting our data, applications, and users with access controls and other security mechanisms, which is why attacks like this are especially challenging when they target identity and access control systems.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Abnormal Security finds financial supply chain under threat
New research by Abnormal Security has found a rising trend in financial supply chain compromise as threat actors increasingly impersonate vendors.
Story image
Identity and Access Management
Ping Identity launches corporate venture capital fund
Ping Identity has launched a corporate venture capital fund to foster innovative offerings for the identity security market.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Aqua Security, CIS create software supply chain security guide
Aqua Securityand the Center for Internet Security have together released the industry’s first formal guidelines for software supply chain security.
Story image
INTERPOL
Hundreds arrested, millions seized in global INTERPOL investigation
A two-month-long investigation by INTERPOL this year involved 76 countries and clamped down on organised crime groups behind telecommunications and social engineering scams.
Story image
10 Minute IT Jams
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from Rimini Street
Today we welcome back Daniel Benad, who is the GVP & regional GM for Oceania at Rimini Street.
Story image
Gartner
Gartner's top recommendations for security leaders
"Leaders now recognise that major disruption is only one crisis away. We can’t control it, but we can evolve our thinking, philosophy, program and architecture.”
Story image
Yubico
New research shows global drive for passwordless authentication
A new study has shown there has been a significant shift towards wanting a passwordless future, but adoption is still in its infancy.
Story image
Ransomware
Secureworks reveals new information on BRONZE STARLIGHT threat group
New research from Secureworks has uncovered new information on the Chinese threat group BRONZE STARLIGHT and how they are using targeted ransomware to initiate complicated attacks.
Story image
Cybersecurity
FIDO Alliance releases guidelines for optimising UX with FIDO Security Keys
The new guidelines aim to accelerate multi-factor authentication deployment and adoption with FIDO security keys.
Story image
Internet of Things
Domino's Pizza: A blueprint for secure enterprise IoT deployment
Increasingly, organisations are embracing smart technologies to underpin innovations that can enhance safety and productivity in every part of our lives, from industrial systems, utilities, and building management to various forms of business enablement.
Story image
Vendor
Forescout reveals top vulnerabilities impacting OT vendors
Forescout’s Vedere Labs has disclosed OT: ICEFALL, naming 56 vulnerabilities affecting devices from 10 operational technology vendors.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Email threats spike 101%, remains a top attack vector
"Each year we see innovation in the threat landscape, but each year email remains a major threat to organisations."
Story image
Manufacturing
Sternum joins NXP, collaborates on IoT security and observability
Sternum has announced it has joined the software partner community of NXP Semiconductors, a manufacturer of and large marketplace for embedded controllers.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Vulnerable APIs costing businesses billions every year
Large companies are particularly vulnerable to the security risks associated with exposed or unprotected APIs as they accelerate digital transformation.  
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Boomi, Limepay, Thales, VMware & Zoom
We round up all job appointments from June 6-16, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Significant security concerns resulting from open source software ubiquity
"The risk is real, and the industry must work closely together in order to move away from poor open source or software supply chain security practices."
Story image
DDoS
Flashpoint unveils security offering for school boards
Flashpoint has released its K-12 risk management and security offering to provide school boards and education security practitioners with tools to recognise, prevent and manage cyber and physical threats.
Story image
API
Industry-first comprehensive risk-based API security enhances protection
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become a crucial part of operating web and mobile application businesses and are causing significant economic growth in the digital sector.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Greater API usage raises concerns for protection - report
Radware has released its 2022 State of API Security report, which shows a rise in APIs, with 92% of the organisations surveyed significantly or somewhat increasing their usage.
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
Zscaler, AWS accelerate onramp to the cloud with zero trust
Zscaler has announced an extension to its relationship with Amazon Web Services, as well as innovations built on Zscaler's Zero Trust architecture.
Story image
Motorola Solutions
Motorola Solutions deploys communication system to 5th Japanese airport
Motorola Solutions with its partner, Nippon Airport Radio Services deployed the mission critical communication system to Kansai.
Story image
Internet of Things
ManageEngine wins big in IDC MarketScape assessment
ManageEngine's Endpoint Central service has been recognised as a leader by IDC MarketScape in several categories including Internet of Things device deployments and UEM software for SMEs.
Story image
HP Inc
Firmware attacks significant threat in age of hybrid work
Changing workforce dynamics are creating new challenges for IT teams around firmware security, according to new research.
Story image
Network Security
Netskope announces zero trust network access updates
Customers can now apply zero trust principles across a range of hybrid work security needs, including SaaS, IaaS, private applications, and endpoint devices.
Story image
Trend Micro
5G network projects driven by improving security and privacy
Trend Micro's new study reveals the prospect of improved security and privacy capabilities are the main motivations behind private 5G wireless network projects.
Story image
Secure access service edge / SASE
Cloudflare adds new capabilities to zero trust SASE platform
New features for Cloudflare One include email security protection, data loss prevention tools, cloud access security broker, and private network discovery.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Zero trust security adoption rises 27% in just two years
A survey of WAN managers has revealed that multi-factor authentication and single sign-on are the top zero trust features implemented.
Story image
Infosys
Preparing for the digital decade with the right workforce strategies
For a decade that started under the pall of the pandemic, the 2020s is poised to end with a bang with the digital economy swelling to a high across the world.
Story image
Apple
LastPass announces new capability for iPhones and iPads
LastPass has announced its new save and fill experience, allowing customers to fill in, create and save their credentials directly within the site's form field.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Cybersecurity priorities for digital leaders navigating digital transformation
In recent years, Asia-Pacific has especially been a hotspot for cyberattacks, and as we continue into 2022, it’s evident that the problem is becoming more significant.
SonicWall
Find out how you and your business can prevent being caught out by everything from ransomware to cryptojacking.
Link image
Story image
Collaboration
IT and security team collaboration crucial to data security
Many IT and security decision makers are not collaborating as effectively as possible to address growing cyber threats.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Threat actors ramp up their social engineering attacks
As people get better at identifying potential threats in their inbox, threat actors must evolve their methods. Their new M.O? Social engineering.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CrowdStrike
Scott Jarkoff joins us today to discuss current trends in the cyber threat landscape, and the reporting work CrowdStrike is doing to prevent further cyber harm.
Story image
Oracle Cloud
Commvault, Oracle to deliver Metallic Data Management as a Service
"We are excited to partner with Commvault and enable our customers to restore and recover their most mission-critical cloud data."
Story image
Cloud Security
Palo Alto Networks bolsters cloud native security offerings
Latest Prisma Cloud platform updates help organisations continuously monitor and secure web applications with maximum flexibility.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Kaspersky opens three new centers to boost data management
Cybersecurity company Kaspersky has opened three new Transparency Centers, one in Japan, the second in Singapore and the third in the United States.
Story image
Ransomware
Rapid7 report examines use of double extortion ransomware attacks
New insight into how attackers think when carrying out cyber attacks, along with further analysis of the disclosure layer of double extortion ransomware attacks, has come to light.
Story image
SaaS
Varonis strengthens security capabilities for AWS and S3
Varonis has strengthened and expanded its cloud and security capabilities, with a critical aim of improving safety and boosting data visibility in Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3).
Story image
WatchGuard Technologies
Ransomware volume doubled 2021 total by end of Q1 2022
Ransomware detections in the first quarter of this year doubled the total volume reported for 2021, according to a new report.