Losses from cyber crimes decline, cases continue to surge

Cyber criminals are exploiting the current situation to carry out their malicious works

by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK / pic by TMR FILE

IN THE past three years, while the amount of losses associated with cyber-related crimes have been declining, the number of cases continues to surge.

Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that since more Malaysians are doing Internet-powered tasks, a floodgate of risks has opened.

“This year, the number is expected to surge higher.

“In the first quarter alone, 1,300 cyber incidents have been reported,” he said in his opening speech at the Cyber Defence and Security Exhibition and Conference (CYDES 2021) yesterday.

In 2019, a total of 3,787 cyber incidents were reported while last year, the incidents spiralled to a worrying 4,194.

“According to police statistics, in 2019, there were 11,875 cyber crimes reported, with RM498 million in losses.

“Last year, the number of cases increased to 14,229, with total losses of RM413 million,” he said.

Muhyiddin said cyber criminals are exploiting the current situation to carry out their malicious works.

“It has become very clear that digital technology is something we must embrace to overcome all the challenges of managing the worst impacts of Covid-19.

“However, this reliance has not only created new opportunities but also opened up the floodgate of threats, risks and vulnerabilities,” he said.

He said this is an issue that no country can solve alone, and users must be mindful that cyber threats know no borders and have become more sophisticated and complicated.

“As such, it has become one of the government’s main focus areas to complement our efforts in accelerating the economic growth of this country.

“In February this year, the government launched MyDigital to encourage all Malaysians to embrace digitalisation and seize opportunities to improve their standard of living,” he said.

MyDigital is a national initiative, which symbolises the government’s aspirations to successfully transform Malaysia into a digitally driven, high income nation and a regional leader in the digital economy.

“To ensure the success of MyDigital, the National Cyber Security Agency is responsible as the leading agency to coordinate and set the standard of all cyber security initiatives under the six clusters of MyDigital.

“This is a reflection of the government’s seriousness and deep commitment to improve national resilience in safeguarding our cyber environment, and I believe that not only Malaysia but other countries should take this matter seriously,” he said.

The action plans under the Malaysia Cyber Security Strategy 2020 to 2024 (MCSS) will be aligned with the MyDigital initiatives as key elements to achieve the vision of building a secured, trusted and resilient cyber space.

Through MCSS, the government will fortify local capabilities to predict, detect, deter and respond to cyber threats by strengthening cyber security governance, nurturing competent people, supporting best practice processes and deploying effective technologies.

MCSS has also outlined 113 programmes under its 35 action plans, among which is to organise biennial international conferences and exhibitions, also known as CYDES.

The objective of CYDES is to gather all cyber security experts to share their best practices, latest available technologies and updates.

“It is hoped that this conference will enable us to fight cyber crimes together and better.

“In the face of the increasing cyber threats, all of us must work together in sharing our experiences, knowledge and new technologies,” the PM said.

The event will include the Asean Cyber Security Forum, 12 MCSS track sessions, cyber podium, policy dialogues, virtual exhibitions, memorandum and letter of understanding signing ceremonies and discussions involving 30 nations with a total of 2,500 participants.

Eighty companies will promote and showcase their latest products.

Muhyiddin was confident that CYDES will gain prominence as the leading cyber security forum in the region.