If a recent study by a bug-bounty program is anything to go by, the APAC region is mirroring that cybersecurity anxiety when a business rushed to digitalization .

Recent research is showing that 56% of businesses in the Asia Pacific region believed their organization was more likely to experience a data breach due to the pandemic.

At the same time, they have to switch priorities to focus on securing the use of remote working and collaboration tools.

According to theJuly 2020 survey commissioned by bug bounty platform HackerOne conducted across the world with 1,400 C-Level IT and Security executives of companies with more than 1,000 staff, almost two thirds (64%) of the global respondents believed their organization was more likely to experience a data breach due to COVID-19. In Singapore, 58% of CISOs, CTOs, and CIOs felt the same.

Said Marten Mickos, CEO, HackerOne: “As companies rush to meet remote-work requirements and customer demands for digital services, attack surfaces have dramatically expanded, leaving security teams stretched thin and not staffed to cope.”

Other APAC-region statistics gleaned from the survey:

  • 36% of security leaders in APAC said that digital transformation initiatives have accelerated as a result of COVID-19.
  • 30.75% of respondents in APAC said that they had to go through a digital transformation ahead of the planned roadmap as a result of COVID-19.
  • 27% of security leaders in APAC have seen more attacks on their IT systems as a result of COVID-19.

Perhaps this explains why HackerOne has seen a 56% increase in sign-ups on their platform since March compared to the same time last year. With budget cuts and staff cuts for a quarter of respondents, more CISOs have said they would be more open to receiving vulnerability reports from third party researchers than before the pandemic.

Their CEO Marten continued: “Businesses realize they have been too slow with their digital transformation and cloud migration. (Our) research revealed that 36% of APAC leaders said digital initiatives had accelerated as a result of COVID-19. Nearly 31% were forced to go through it before they were ready. The strain this puts on security teams is immense. Cost-cutting measures combined with an increase in attacks means data breaches present a significant threat to brand reputations that may have already taken a hit.”

As a proponent of hacker-powered security, Marten asserted that crowdsourcing security testing with hackers was the fastest and most cost-effective way to minimize the risk security vulnerabilities pose. According to him, this is a practise “recommended by governments and major digital corporations and allows companies to tap into the best security researchers in the world.”