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Industry-wide cooperation in the face of growing cyber threats

Bill Taylor-Mountford, Vice President, Asia Pacific and Japan, LogRhythm | Sept. 16, 2016
LogRhythm’s global Chief Technology Officer, contributed his insights in the presence of senior executives from RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, CrimsonLogic, Fujitsu, NUS, and CSS Industrial.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

A few cyber attacks have garnered some media attention this year, but perhaps most noteworthy and relevant in the region is the Bangladesh Bank heist, one of the largest bank thefts to date.

The culprits took away US$ 81 million and was believed to have been executed through a malware installed on one of the bank's computers. Whether such threat comes from opportunistic individual hackers or professional cybercrime syndicates, there is a very real risk that cyberattacks will have devastating effects on business organisations, and even individuals.

The fact remains that business leaders at all levels face the difficult task of ensuring that their organisations not only understand these risks but also act on them. Responsibilities for building cybersecurity policies and strategies is often still confined to IT managers and other technical experts.

This is a particular concern in the Asia-Pacific region, where there is relatively little understanding of the volume and nature of vulnerabilities within strategic sectors of the economy.

Singapore, in particular, may be vulnerable to such cyberthreats. Its strategic position as a regional trade and banking hub makes it a prime target for threat actors.

We spoke with a few cybersecurity experts and business leaders during a roundtable session that we organised and had summarised four key observations on the current state of cybersecurity:

  • Cyber attacks certainly pose a serious threat to businesses in Asia-Pacific
  • Threat intelligence is crucial in the fight against cybercrime
  • There is a greater need to develop and nurture cybersecurity talents
  • Organisations can look at threat information sharing to help to mitigate cyber threats

The risk is real

Cyber attacks are few and far between. Hence it is difficult to identify the potential source, reach, and impact of cybercrime. Some suspect the scarcity means cyber attacks are taking place without being detected, while other experts believe it is much more likely that security breaches are known but not reported.

This may be particularly true for financial institutions in the region. Due to the nature of the business, financial institutions will always be a tempting target for cybercrime. However, the need to protect banks' reputation could be one of the reasons why cases of breaches that occurred here, may not be known to the public.

Overall, the number of cyber attacks is set to grow as new technologies designed to boost economic growth and productivity create new information security challenges. This will only aggravate the information gap on the nature and scope of potential risks.

As countries such as Singapore set their eyes on becoming a smart nation or building smart cities, a large part of the trade and commerce will rely on interconnected digital services, exposing the very fabric of the economy to cyber threats, remarked one of the panelists who attended our roundtable event.


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