The urgent need for better cybersecurity was highlighted at a top conference attended by senior figures in the industry in Phnom Penh yesterday.
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The two-day Cybersecurity Asia 2019 event at the Rosewood Hotel continues today. Opening the conference on the first day, CEO of Smart Axiata Thomas Hundt stressed the need for constant vigilance.
Phannarith Ou, ICT security director at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, was also present at the event. He pointed out that the country’s current cybersecurity landscape is moving quickly to a digital economy so the issue was even more vital.
Representing Cybersecurity Malaysia, CEO Haji Amirudin Abdul Wahab spoke about what it takes to build a successful cyber programme that keeps out any attempts at infiltration.
“There can’t be just one layer of security; it has to be multi-layered,” said Mr Amirudin. He strongly urged companies to take on a more holistic approach when it comes to facing cyber threats because they are getting increasingly sophisticated.
The first half of the first day saw panellists exchange thoughts on cybersecurity strategies and policies within the Asia-Pacific region. The panel was made up of Mr Ou, Mr Amirudin, Robert Kooij representing the Singapore University of Technology Design together with Ahmad Rizan Ibrahim of Consulting Board Asia.
Mr Kooij emphasised the need to consider vulnerability along with the effects cybersecurity strategies could bring up. He said it is something people in every sector should seriously consider.
Mr Ou said legislation is being refined and his ministry has been having discussions with representatives from the telecoms and energy sectors on the importance of having good cybersecurity measures in place.
The second panel discussion challenged the notion of the digital underworld, covering hot button issues such as privacy, the dark web and the relationship between technology and democracy.
The panellists, who yesterday afternoon consisted of Bug Bounty Hunter Abhinav Mishra, Associate Dean in Computing and Security at Australia’s Edith Cowan University Paul Haskell-Dowland, Chief Information Officer at Smart Axiata Kalyan Achyutini and Innovation Manager at TNO Mark van Staalduinen, who has assisted Interpol as a cybercrime expert.
They also discussed these issues in a session moderated by Paul Craig, the head of offensive security and chief hacking officer at Vantage Point, Singapore.
Responding to Mr Craig’s question over the right to digital privacy, all panellists agreed more is needed to define the concept across the world.
“Digital privacy is critical. We need to know who is monitoring our digital data and exactly what they are monitoring,” argued Mr Achyutini of Smart Axiata.
Discussing the dangers of sharing information online, Mr Haskell-Dowland sees education as the key.
“You can’t just tell people to avoid technology. The warnings that parents are giving their children now are no different from the ‘stranger-danger’ lessons they were given as children. It’s just the medium – the platform – that has changed,” he said.
Mr Haskell-Dowland elaborated that this is part of the evolution of how democracy works, as the panel was posed the question of how to prevent fake news and targeted political advertising on social media.
The question divided the panel, with Mr Achyutini lauding Twitter’s decision to ban political advertising and Mr Mishra questioning whether political advertising should then be prohibited across all media, arguing that social media advertisements are no different from television, radio and newspaper advertisements.
The conference also saw experts examine the complexity of hacking mobile apps and ways to secure them and presentations on detecting cyber threats to the Cloud and the internet of things.