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Cybersecurity: More than 70% of enterprises have suffered cyber security attacks in the past year

A number of organizations such as Cyberport and the Consumer Council have been hacked in recent months, raising privacy and security concerns. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data and the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) announced today (14th) the survey report on "Hong Kong Enterprises Cybersecurity Readiness Index and Privacy Awareness", pointing out that the "Hong Kong Enterprises Cybersecurity Readiness Index" is 47 (out of a possible 100 points), a drop of 6.3 points compared to last year, which is the biggest drop since the inception of the index.

The survey found that more than 70% of the surveyed enterprises had suffered from cyber security attacks in the past year, which is a record high, and phishing attacks are the most common type of cyber security attacks encountered by almost all affected enterprises. Privacy Commissioner Ms. Chung Lai-ling said, as of the end of October, a total of 119 data leakage notifications have been received this year. The PCPD is working closely with the Government to review the amendments to the Personal Data Privacy Ordinance, including the requirement of mandatory notification, and to strengthen the level of penalties by introducing an administrative fine mechanism to impose a fine on enterprises that fail to notify the security breach in a timely manner.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) and the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) conducted telephone interviews with 378 enterprises in September this year, of which 309 were small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and 69 were large enterprises (LMEs), covering "retail and tourism-related", "non-profit-making organizations, schools and others", financial services, "information and communications technology", etc. The PCPD and HKPC also conducted telephone interviews with 378 enterprises, of which 309 were SMEs and 69 were LMEs.

The report is divided into 4 major areas, including "Security Policy Risk Assessment", "Technical Controls", "Process Controls" and "Employee Awareness Building". The latest survey points out that "Employee Awareness Building" has the worst performance among the 4 major areas, with the index remaining at a low level of 25 points, which is considered to be an area worthy of concern by the report; followed by "Security Policy Risk Assessment" at 39.7 points, a year-on-year drop of 8.9 points, which has become an all-time low, indicating that fewer enterprises have carried out cyber security risk assessment. The second index, "Security Policy Risk Assessment", was 39.7 points, a year-on-year drop of 8.9 points to a record low, indicating that fewer enterprises have conducted cybersecurity risk assessments.

As for "technical control", the report pointed out that fewer enterprises had conducted system security patch management and the cyber threat prevention measures taken by enterprises had been reduced, resulting in a sharp drop of 11.2 points; "process control", at 68.1 points, was the highest among all the items, and was categorized as the "capable of management" level.

In terms of industries, the Financial Services (64.9 points) and Information and Communications Technology (63.3 points) sectors continue to be ranked in the "Manageable" category, with the Information and Communications Technology sector being the only one to record an increase in the index this year, the report said. However, the manufacturing, trading and logistics sector (48.6 points, down 8.9 points year-on-year) and the retail and tourism-related sector (33.3 points, down 12.5 points year-on-year) recorded larger declines, with the latter dropping to the "inconsistent" category.

The survey also found that 73% of respondents had experienced at least one type of cyber security attack in the past 12 months, a further 8 percentage points higher than last year and an all-time high.

The report mentions that the increase in cybersecurity attacks mainly comes from more SMEs being attacked by cybersecurity, a significant increase of 10 percentage points over last year, with phishing attacks being the most common type of cybersecurity attack (96%), and related types of attacks include:

. Phishing emails (79%). Phishing phone calls (35%). Phishing text messages (34%, +14 percentage points). Social media phishing (16%, +6 points). Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Generative AI (9%). Phishing attacks using QR codes (8%)

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