A government-sponsored agency issued a strong warning on Monday of a projected surge in cyber crime this year.
At a press briefing, the Hong Kong Productivity Council noted that cases involving large-scale and intensive cyber attacks soared to 154 in 2014 -up more than 300 per cent from 2013. It expected such cases to increase further this year and urged Internet users to be vigilant.
"Last year, more and more cyber attackers have expanded their targets from computers to smartphones and other mobile devices, as well as servers," said Wilson Wong, general manager of IT industry development at the council.
He explained that the high penetration rate of mobile phones and tablets has made Hong Kong an easy target for hackers.
It's also worth noting that Internet devices, including IP cameras, broadband routers and even TV boxes, are increasingly being targeted for cyber attack, Wong said.
Cyber crime set to soar this year
What's more, mobile attacks are becoming more "mature and sophisticated" to take advantage of the growing trend in online payments and other transactions involving money transfer.
"For example, if the smart device is an IP camera, the hackers can control it to spy on your home or office. If your network storage is compromised, your personal information can be stolen. Cyber criminals can also control your devices to do whatever they want, even to launch an attack on other people's devices," Leung Siu-cheong, senior consultant at the Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Centre, told China Daily.
With more wearable smart devices, such as wrist watches and spectacles, coming onto the market in 2015, "we can expect cyber crimes to increase as well", Leung said.
He said Internet users should try to strengthen information security by patching software on mobile devices regularly, using two-step authentication in cloud services and keep a wary eye on hyperlinks sent through instant messaging applications.
Analysing the upcoming cyber security trend, Leung identified the weak link in the point of sale systems that store unencrypted credit card and personal information of millions of customers.
"Although we haven't seen any such cases in Hong Kong, retailers should bear in mind that such incidents in the US had led to the leakage of millions of customers' data," he warned.