Illustration of cybersecurity. (Pixabay/geralt)
COTEKNO.COM – Cybercrime globally disrupts and destroys economies, causing trillions of dollars in financial losses and operational repercussions for victims, both individuals and businesses. This crime also threatens national security and reduces trust in the digital economy and the internet. Not only that, Asia Pacific continues to experience higher cases of malware and ransomware attacks – 1.6 and 1.7 times higher, respectively, than any other region in the world. Specifically in Indonesia, Microsoft Defender antivirus telemetry shows that the malware case rate in Indonesia over the past 18 months has decreased by 24%, but as a share of malware, the ransomware case rate has increased to 31%.
No single entity can effectively fight cybercrime alone. That’s why Microsoft formed the first Asia Pacific Public Sector Cybersecurity Executive Board. The Council brings together policymakers from government and state institutions, as well as technology and industry leaders, with the aim of establishing strong communication channels to address cyberthreats, as well as sharing best practices among all participating countries.
Joining the Board are 15 policymakers from Brunei, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, supported by professional cybersecurity practitioners from Microsoft. This collaboration marks a significant commitment to accelerating public-private partnerships in cybersecurity, as well as increasing more opportunities for participating countries to share threat intelligence with each other so that they can be better prepared to respond in the event of an attack. At the forefront, the Council has a vision to build a community where threat intelligence, technology and resources can be shared regularly and openly. The board is also designed to meet virtually every quarter in order to maintain an ongoing exchange of information on cyber threats and cybersecurity solutions.
At the Microsoft APAC Public Sector Summit on May 6, 2021, Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO explained that over the past year, Microsoft has witnessed a second wave of digital transformation, and the government has accelerated the adoption of technology to build resilience. Satya stressed the importance of having a strong digital foundation for the success of the public sector, and this can be done by adopting a data-driven strategy. Satya also strengthened Microsoft’s commitment to the national empowerment plan implemented through the establishment of new data center regions in New Zealand, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
At the same event, Ann Johnson, Corporate Vice President, Security Compliance and Identity hosted a Cyber Security panel entitled ‘Building a resilient global cyber defense ecosystem’. Ann shared that the trend Microsoft sees in cybercrime tends to follow the issue that emerges every day, where bad actors are changing their infrastructure to attract attention based on the news of the day. To keep organizations and governments protected, a zero-trust mindset needs to be adopted. That is why the Asia Pacific Public Sector Cybersecurity Executive Council was formed, so that stakeholders in the ecosystem can collaborate in prioritizing national cybersecurity defenses.
The panel was attended by the three founding members of the first Asia Pacific Public Sector Cybersecurity Executive Council: CyberSecurity Malaysia, National Information Society Agency Korea, and National Cybersecurity Agency Thailand.
More Effective Regional Strategies to Counter Cyber Attacks
With most of the technology infrastructure owned and operated by private companies, it is important for the government to form a coalition with the leading technology companies, in order to lead an effective cyber defense strategy and guard the region from various cyber attacks.
Dato’ Ts. Dr. Haji Amirudin Abdul Wahab FASc, CEO of CyberSecurity Malaysia said, “Cybersecurity is an important national agenda that cannot rely solely on the IT team. This should be the priority and responsibility of all individuals, as we continue to see an exponential increase in cybercriminal activity, in addition to the proliferation of cybercriminals. data and digital connectivity. The coalition is certainly forging stronger partnerships with industry leaders and practitioners, enabling us to fortify our security posture and fight cybercrime.”
On the future of the cybersecurity ecosystem and the role the coalition will play, the Ph.D. ChangHee Yun, Principle Researcher of AI/Future Strategy Center, National Information Society Agency Korea added, “Collective intelligence among Asia Pacific countries is very important, so that we can share best practices and strategies, so as to be able to solve cybersecurity challenges with speed. faster, and in a more proactive way. With a similar threat landscape, this partnership will ensure that we stay ahead of cybercriminals, and set higher standards for the cybersecurity ecosystem.”
Group Captain Amorn Chomchoey, Acting Deputy Secretary General, National Cybersecurity Agency Thailand said, “The cybersecurity executive council is an instrumental platform for collaboration between nations. I believe with stronger relationships, this council can better enable us to anticipate threats as early as possible, and prevent it before the effects of cybercrime evolve into another ‘pandemic’ for cyberspace.”
Unique Collaboration Between Government and Technology Sector
As part of the Asia Pacific Public Sector Cybersecurity Executive Council, government agencies and country leaders will join a forum involving Microsoft and the cybersecurity industry advisory ecosystem. The purpose of this forum is to share best practices, learn from Microsoft security certification training, participate in specialized workshops, and take hands-on lab sessions, with the aim of driving the digital skills upgrade of the workforce to reduce the cybersecurity gap across participating countries. This effort will strengthen existing efforts to strengthen cybersecurity partnerships in Asia Pacific, including through the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise.
“Cyberthreats and attacks are unavoidable in this interconnected world, which is why our collective strength and collaboration as a community is so important. Today’s announcement is the first step towards protecting our community online and I am excited to announce the launch of the Security Executive Council. The first Asia Pacific Public Sector Cyber with founding members that include governments, policymakers, regulators and industry stakeholders across the region. Our shared mission is to build a strong coalition, to strengthen our cybersecurity defences.” said Sherie Ng, General Manager, Public Sector, Microsoft Asia Pacific.