Experts said Singapore's cyber security laws are robust, especially after amendments to the Computer Misuse Act in 2013. Still, they caution that these laws are not foolproof as technology is constantly evolving.On Tuesday, James Raj Arokiasamy -- who allegedly goes by the moniker The Messiah -- was charged with hacking Ang Mo Kio Town Council's website.
He was also suspected to be behind a spate of hacking incidents in Singapore -- including websites belonging to the City Harvest Church co-founder, Sun Ho; The Straits Times blog; and the People's Action Party Community Foundation.
He was arrested in Kuala Lumpur by Malaysian authorities, and experts said this is an example of how internet criminals cannot escape the long arm of the law, whether they operate in Singapore or other countries.
Even if someone in Singapore compromises an overseas website, he or she could still face prosecution here.
Rosemary Lee, counsel with Pinsent Masons MPillay, said: "There comes the question as to whether a reality would come to pass -- the prosecution of a Singapore offender when the damage is overseas.
"But in fact as part of Singapore's efforts to ramp up cyber security, and as part of the masterplan for cyber security to build Singapore into a trusted infocomm hub, I think that perhaps there would be less hesitation to prosecute such an offender -- if only to demonstrate that Singapore would not be seen as an easy or safe haven jurisdiction for hackers or potential hackers."
Experts said that with technology becoming more sophisticated, which allows internet criminals to better conceal their identities, closer international co-operation between authorities will be necessary to combat transnational internet crimes.
This can be in the form of technology that masks or manipulates IP addresses, which will then add a layer that conceals the culprit's whereabouts.
"The more privacy tools that are out there to mask internet activity, it may make the job of catching criminals who abuse the internet more difficult," said lawyer Gilbert Leong, of Rodyk & Davidson's Intellectual Property and Technology Practice Group.
This comes as more such crimes are being committed. One reason for this -- the increasing number of transnational transactions over the internet.
Mr Leong added: "Funds are flowing -- facilitated by the transfer of information across the internet. That really offers more opportunities. The criminal elements will see it more as a greater opportunity for enriching themselves or defrauding others, or getting into stolen data.
"More and more, it's being realised that there is value in information, and there's vast stores of information available on the internet or through the internet.
"It may be because of this realisation that there is value in the information -- that you can sell information from a simple address or email address. You can sell it for 10 cents an address or whatever it is, right through to the multi-million dollar commercial secrets that if you hack into a system you can get somebody's trade secrets and go and sell it to the highest bidder."
And with the complexion of the internet changing everyday, it is important for cyber security laws to keep up.
Mr Leong said: "The law, unfortunately, is reactive. Technology moves so quickly and it relies on the creativity of the security experts and the creativity of the hackers in order to overcome whatever security barriers you put in. If something new comes up tomorrow, then our laws at that point of time may have to be revisited.
"Because the law plays a catch-up game, no matter how technologically neutral we make our law, the draftsmen or the government of the day can only predict so far into the future."