Cyber threats on the rise in Malaysia


The country’s Internet security agencies and experts are enhancing Malaysia’s defence against the increasing threat of cyber criminals.

Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) Deputy Minister Datuk Wira Dr Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah said cyber crimes including fraud, hacktivism, online scams, espionage and harassment have been on the rise over the last decade.

“Between 2012 and 2016, CyberSecurity Malaysia received 50,789 cyber security incident reports,” he said at CyberSAFE Dialogue 2017 in Kuala Lumpur recently.

Abu Bakar said companies should seek information and communications technology (ICT) certification to prevent their firms from being the victims of cyber criminals.

According to CyberSecurity Malaysia’s latest data, a total of 3,928 cyber crime incidences have been reported between January and June this year.

CyberSecurity Malaysia chairman General (R) Tan Sri Panglima Mohd Azumi Mohamed said the agency plans to get more more local companies to secure international ICT certification.

“This will elevate cyber security capabilities and readiness in the face of escalating global cyber threats, including WannaCry and Petya ransomware as well as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks,” he said.

The agency has issued 179 certificates since 2008 through the Information Security Certification Body (ISCB) to local and international organisations specialising in security-related products as well as critical services.

It was ranked third most committed in raising cyber security awareness among 193 countries surveyed in the latest International Telecom Union Global Cybersecurity Index 2017.

The agency also signed a memorandum of collaboration with the Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation to scale up joint efforts towards crime prevention and increase cyber security awareness through public engagement and strategic research.

Both organisations have agreed to exchange information and render mutual assistance related to crime prevention activities and cyber security reference on public safety.

Recently, 12 ISCB certificates were awarded to local organisations that complied with Common Criteria ISO/IEC 15408, Information Security Management System ISO/IEC 27001 and Malaysia Trustmark Service for e-business validation.

Recently, The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) reported a few investment firms and brokerage houses were the targets of cyber criminals who demanded money as ransom.

However, the DDoS attacks were quickly neutralised and the affected trading systems were back online by the end of the same day.

The Internet criminals who signed their ransom note as the “Collective Armada”, are believed to be local and used the same modus operandi as a bitcoin extortionist group called DD4BC.

LE Global Services Sdn Bhd founder Fong Choong Fook told TMR that the attacks were an eye-opener for the brokerage industry.

However, Kaspersky Lab South-East Asia GM Sylvia Ng said adoption and awareness of cyber security practices in the country remained “average”.

Cyber security is usually last on the agenda when companies plan their products while financial phishing attacks are also on the rise, Ng told TMR.