Asia-Pacific Lags in Dwell Time, Study Reveals

Companies in Asia-Pacific take almost twice as long to detect a cyberattack as organizations based in other regions, according to recent research.

A report by FireEye and Marsh & McLennan revealed that the median dwell time — the time between a cyber intrusion and its detection — amounted to 172 days in the region, compared to the global median of 99 days. This gap is due largely to structural problems, low security investments and other issues.

Dwelling on Dwell Time in Asia-Pacific

The Asia-Pacific region consists of East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and Oceania. According to the report, the Europe, Middle East and Africa region tallied a median dwell time of 106 days, while the Americas came in at 99 days.

As a result of the region’s heterogeneity, companies located in Asia-Pacific vary widely in terms of their security commitments, preparedness and awareness, the study noted. This inconsistency, along with a lack of investment in security infrastructure, geopolitical tensions and a severe shortage of cybersecurity practitioners, contributes to the high dwell time. A preponderance of legacy systems may also lead to complacency and longer dwell times, according to the report.

In addition, most countries in Asia-Pacific lack regulations that require organizations to report security incidents. The study mentioned, however, that Singapore and Australia do have plans to implement such requirements in 2018.

Financial Services Under Attack

Citing results from Marsh & McLennan’s “2017 Global Cyber Survey,” FireEye noted that 39 percent of international corporations across industry sectors in Asia-Pacific ranked financially motivated attacks as the most significant cyberthreat, as reported by ZDNet.

Furthermore, almost one-third of FireEye clients that suffered cyberattacks in the past year were part of the financial services sector. For comparison, 10 percent of targeted companies hailed from the energy and utilities industry, followed by the telecommunications sector at 9 percent.

Reducing high dwell time can only come from better security practices and more evolved security programs. The report pointed to a particular need for heightened awareness, stronger threat mitigation measures, and stricter privacy and reporting regulations in the Asia-Pacific region.

Larry Loeb

Principal, PBC Enterprises

Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other...