Phishing fraud increased by 35 per cent in Hong Kong

The Police Force recorded more than 12,900 technology crimes in 2020.

In 2020, the Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center (Incident Coordination Center) handled more than 8,300 security incidents, a 12 per cent drop from the previous year, and the number of botnet incidents also decreased by 16 per cent.

But the number of phishing frauds has increased by 35 per cent, and the overall network security situation is similar to the global situation. Phishing frauds mostly use the public’s attention to the epidemic to publish false information to lure victims to visit malicious websites or disclose sensitive information, and even involve money fraud, said Secretary for Innovation and Technology Xue Yongheng.

In terms of technology crimes, the Police Force recorded more than 12,900 technology crimes in 2020, an increase of 55 per cent from 2019. This was mainly due to the increase in the number of online fraud cases, which involved a total of about 29 RMB 60 million, which is similar to that of 2019.

The Special Administrative Regions (SAR) government is committed to providing a safe and secure network environment for the society and has introduced a number of measures at different levels. At the social level, the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) has been working closely with the Police Force, Incident Coordination Center and Hong Kong Internet Registration Management Co., Ltd. to provide cyber security advice and appropriate support to the public and various industries.

Under the new normal of the epidemic, companies and citizens are using different online services more widely. The Incident Coordination Center and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner respectively issued different security recommendations and guidelines to help companies and the public better respond to related cyber security challenges.

Last year, the government also regularised the cross-industry cyber security information sharing partnership program to promote more public and private organizations, including small and medium enterprises, to exchange cyber security information. It has also further optimized the technology voucher program and launched a remote business program to help improve the level of information security of enterprises. Of course, public education is also very important.

In addition to organising a series of seminars, publicity activities and school visits, colleagues from the OGCIO and the Police Department organized the “National Security Education Day for All” in April this year to provide information related to cybersecurity as a public education exhibition to strengthen the market. The people recognize the importance of network security to national security.

In terms of human resources, Hong Kong has  expanded the scope of application of the Technological Talent Admission Scheme to all companies in the country that conduct R&D activities in designated technological fields, so as to attract more cybersecurity talents to Hong Kong. We will also continue to actively nurture more local talents who are aspiring to join the information security industry and increase the young generation’s interest in cyber security.

As for the government, it has also introduced a series of information security measures to respond to cyber security threats, including updating the “Government Information Technology Security Policies and Guidelines” and strengthening the release of cyber threats and early warning capabilities.

“In response to the need of various government departments to work from home during the epidemic, we have also strengthened the security requirements of the remote access department’s network and information system to properly protect government information technology systems and data,” said Secretary Yongheng.



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