Data breach probe still ongoing

The govt has not received a conclusive report on the matter yet, according to Ahmad Zahid


Investigations on the data breach involving over 46 million personal records are still ongoing, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Ahmad Zahid said the government is waiting for a full report from the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), before deciding on the next course of action.

“The government has not received a conclusive report on the matter yet. I am confident that PDRM has conducted a thorough discussion with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission on the gathered data.

“Operationally, PDRM is expected to inform the public of their findings,” he told reporters after launching the Huawei Asia-Pacific Innovation Day in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Last week, online tech news publication disclosed that over 46 million records of mobile phone users’ personal data and medical organisation information have been made available for sale.

The leak — believed to be the country’s largest data breach — involved 12 telcos and mobile-virtual networks. Customer information including usernames, addresses and identification card numbers were made available to interested buyers.

Maxis Bhd, Celcom Axiata Bhd and DiGi.Com Bhd — the three largest mobile operators in Malaysia which had been the victims of the data breach — have been cleared of any hacking into their databases and are working with authorities on the investigation.

Meanwhile, the government plans to introduce high-definition (HD) tracking cameras in 200 “hotspots” across the country over the next two years to enhance efficiency of the police force. Hotspots are defined as areas with high crime rates, drug trafficking and road accidents.

“Modern policing means we need more than just HD closed-circuit televisions, but also HD tracking cameras. The cameras will be able to monitor, capture and track criminal conduct. The installation of the system will allow us to arrest offenders according to international standards,” Ahmad Zahid said.

He said significant financing will be needed to realise the plan. However, the government plans to solve capital issues via operational expenses where services will be provided based on years of usage.

“This scheme has been discussed, but it has yet to be finalised as the implementation of the project in rural areas still needs to be assessed,” Ahmad Zahid said.

“If we buy the asset, we know it will depreciate over time and have no book value. Therefore, this new approach will be more effective,” he added.

PDRM has conducted a two-month feasibility study on the project and has delivered a proof of concept report to the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) for further evaluation.

Pemandu will look into two areas — namely, the use of technology and financials needed — before giving their approval.

Earlier, Ahmad Zahid witnessed the signing of four agreements between Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and its local partners to promote the country’s digital economy agenda. They are SME Corp Malaysia, the Terengganu state government, Cyber- Security Malaysia and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS).

The collaboration with SME Corp aims to boost the digital transformation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and stimulate greater economic growth across all industries. Terengganu will work with Huawei to develop the state’s Digital Transformation Roadmap.

CyberSecurity Malaysia has also partnered the Shenzhen-based multinational networking company to advance the nation’s cyber security space in the face of digital transformation, while the agreement with UMS will see the development of a “Smart Campus” initiative, among others.