Data as a resource is crucial for Malaysia’s development and growth, Minister of Communications and Multimedia Gobind Singh Deo has said.

“I’m of the view that data as a resource is essential in realising visions of the smart digital future, consisting of smart cities, and even autonomous cars,” he said at a cybersecurity conference in Singapore recently.

However, data is more often becoming the target of cybercriminals across the region and Malaysia is no exception. “Over half of all reported cyber crimes have data theft as their goal”, he added.

The free and trusted flow of data and information is a “strategic asset” for economies. Gobind further said, “Failing to embed effective security measures will erode trust and thereby undermine the stability of our information society. Our digital economies, and the platforms on which they are built, cannot be more of a source of risk than a source of development.”

Warning signs

Malaysia has seen a series of data breaches across industries in the last two months, which should serve as serious warnings to what’s possible in the future. In October, hackers targeted the country’s oldest university, and defaced its payments website. They went on to leak 24,000 login IDs and passwords online, according to reports.

And the month before that, attackers claimed a TV network as a victim, accessing customers’ IC data – including names, ID numbers, dates of birth, and address. The network, that serves 23 million people and 77% of households in Malaysia, said 0.2% of its customers were affected.

Also in September 2019, a Malaysian airline subsidiary had its passenger data stolen and put up for sale on the dark web. The data was stolen by two former employees of a contractor in India, the company found.

CyberSecurity Malaysia has said that there were 178 data breaches as of September this year, compared to 63 and 19 in 2018 and 2017, respectively. Meanwhile, a survey by insurer Chubb showed that 84 percent of local SMEs were attacked last year.

A call to arms

In response, the government has proposed stricter penalties and stronger data regulations. “We should impose a heavier penalty for data breach offenders, including companies that neglected security aspects when it comes to safeguarding customers’ data,” the CEO of CyberSecurity Malaysia, Datuk Dr Amirudin Abdul Wahab, has said.

Gobind said that the country’s data protection laws need to be updated. “We have laws that have been in place since 2010, and I think we have reached a point where we need to improve on it,” he said.

While regulations are catching up, hackers are getting more ambitious and resourceful. For instance, the attack on Singapore’s healthcare system last year “was a deliberate, targeted and well-planned cyber attack” and that “it was not the work of casual hackers or criminal gangs”, the CEO of Singapore’s Cyber Security Agency said.

Gobind also warned that Malaysia is at risk as long as security remains an “afterthought”. He called on businesses to do more to protect customers. “By working together, we ensure that we not only anticipate, but also protect ourselves against cyber threats and cyber attacks”.

Our vision

TM ONE, recognising that cybersecurity is most crucial in today’s Hyperconnected Ecosystem, continuously strengthens its security offering for customers. In November 2019, we launched three new products during the Cybersecurity Day which was held at TM ONE Experience Centre recently.

The three new products are: a Next Generation Firewall, a Managed Security Operations Centre, and Intelligent Threat Defence. These tools will provide comprehensive coverage for the critical industries that we serve every day, while allowing them to focus on their customers.

The Next Generation Firewall is powered by artificial intelligence to continuously analyse weaknesses in networks and applications, detect malwares and botnets, and protect against DDOS attacks, amongst other sophisticated attacks.

It is the world’s first AI-enabled application firewall and powered by Engine Zero and Neural-X. Engine Zero is a AI-enabled gateway anti virus provide both signature and behavior based malware detection. And Neural X, is a AI enabled cloud-based intelligence and analytic platform against unknown cyber threats. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has powered and expands security detection capabilities for TM ONE’s network, endpoint, and security-as-a-service offerings.

The Managed Security Operations Centre helps centrally manage user access and provides real-time dashboard for vital security insights on network, data and application, incident reports and analysis. Customers have the option to deploy this for on-premise data or to monitor activities in their cloud.

It uses SIEM, an Intelligent tool that predict and alert customer on the attacks by using data collected from customer logs on security devices such Firewall & IPS, Network, Server and End-Point. It also notifies customer when incidents, threats and anomalies occur, to help organization ensure that their network is secure.

TM ONE’s Intelligent Threat Defence system provides an automated solution to secure the entire network, without having to deploy additional systems. It stops the loss of confidential data and uses machine learning to block data exfiltration attacks.

It is a cybersecurity solution that utilises analytics and machine learning technology. Through real-time streaming analytics of live DNS queries and machine learning to accurately detect presence of data in DNS queries, it detects and automatically blocks attempts to steal intellectual property via DNS without the need for endpoint agents or additional network infrastructure.

“For businesses, where IT network and data are extremely valuable assets, it is crucial for all to take cybersecurity seriously. No organisations, whether they are small or large, are immune from cyberattacks.” Mohd Roslan Mohd Rashidi, Vice President of Sales at TM ONE, said during the launch. “These new products are evidence of TM ONE’s continuous readiness and commitment to provide the latest solutions, working together with our partners and cybersecurity experts, to ensure that our customers are able to protect their most critical assets, so that they can conduct their business with peace of mind,” he added.