Unlock Asia-Pacific Cybersecurity Industry Growth Potential
The accelerating pace of innovation is evident all around us. From the ever-more-powerful microcomputers in our pockets, which we continue to call “phones” only out of habit, to the increasing number of sensor-driven products that populate our daily lives, these advances are revolutionizing almost every sector of the global economy. From agriculture and manufacturing to communications and utilities, software-driven technology is delivering new products and services — as well as benefits — to populations around the world.
An unfortunate parallel to the growing benefits of technology is the growing risk of threats. Hackers and other attackers would take advantage of our increasingly technologically connected world by exploiting vulnerabilities in order to commit crimes or cause major disruption and destruction. This fact makes it vitally important that we ensure the future safety of our cyber-enabled systems by building in resiliencies and flexibility that will allow evolution.
Governments can help build in bulwarks to cyberattacks through the cybersecurity policies they adopt and execute. Such policies also can help mitigate the harms of any actual instances of attacks and address emerging threats in the future. To do so, two key elements are indispensable: the proper legal frameworks and the necessary infrastructure to implement them.
This Dashboard focuses on the policies of the markets studied, but the questions that compose the Dashboard also provide a baseline standard by which any country in the region, or around the world, can measure their progress toward a mature cybersecurity policy environment.
In 2019, several states released new policies or strategies, and there was significant movement on new legislation, particularly in Southeast Asia. They have updated existing frameworks to adapt to emerging challenges and address issues in the effectiveness of those frameworks.
In Thailand, the establishment of a new ministry to manage digital economic growth is a positive sign of action to embrace the potential of cyberspace. Indonesia committed to establishing a new National Cyber Agency in 2018, but this appears to have been canceled due to budget difficulties.
Barring a few notable hotspots, such as North and South Korea, instances of geopolitical tensions manifested in cyberspace have lessened in comparison with recent years, as the Snowden leaks have increasingly faded into the rear-view mirror.
Opportunities to Consider
•One the most damaging targets for a society embroiled in cyberwarfare is infrastructure. Our reliance on automation focuses single points of failure that can have dramatic consequences if directed at power stations, communication networks, transport and other utilities.
•Cybercrime comes in a variety of forms ranging from denial of service attacks on websites through to theft, blackmail, extortion, manipulation, and destruction. The tools are many and varied, and can include malware, ransomware, spyware, social engineering, and even alterations to physical devices (for example, ATM skimmers).
•Perhaps the most recognized buzzword of the moment, the Internet of Things (IoT) encompasses the many and varied devices currently on the market, or soon to be on the market, that will connect to and stay connected to the internet 24/7. Considerably more devices will be connected to each other and the internet: Intel predicts there will be as many as 200 billion devices by 2024.
•Recently, cybercriminal botnet operators have moved to self-sustaining botnets that continually find new devices to infect and add to the flock, even while others may be taken offline16. This has led to cybercriminals to sub-lease access to their botnets on the cheap, meaning anyone with a grudge can bring down a website.
•The continued evolution of risks like Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) in IoT age: More and more IoT devices are interconnected and intertwined with the daily lives of consumers and business operations. Thus it implies that the network of devices might get more complicated and harder to secure. As network boundaries fade, the traditional approach to cybersecurity will become ineffective. Due to lower visibility over data, there will be blind spots and vulnerabilities. The situation is getting worse due to the increasing volume and sophistication of DDoS attacks that target IoT devices. Also, a high number of command and control (C2) servers in China, South Korea, Japan, India, and Hong Kong have been detected which are responsible for directing bot attacks in the Asia Pacific.
•New threats like crypto-jacking are emerging: While ransomware may still be a popular form of cyber-attack, experts are seeing a rise of another form of threat. Riding on the trend of cryptocurrency, attackers are increasingly utilizing crypto-jacking. Early crypto-jacking attempts largely targeted PCs and mobile devices, but servers could be the next victims. Powering private and public cloud data centers, servers are both vast in number and far more powerful than PCs and mobile devices, presenting hackers with more processing power to mine more cryptocurrency and scale their earnings.
•Increasing collaboration between private-public partnerships to fight threats: Organizations, including industry experts and governments, are gradually realizing that the cyber threat landscape is evolving too quickly for a single entity to keep up. In the Asia Pacific, a typical organization does not have cybersecurity as its core strength and usually hires a lean IT team to manage databases and servers. Moreover, on the backdrop of digitized economies, networks will become more interconnected and interdependent. Thus the attackers have a larger “attack surface” to work on and a single malware can spread quickly and affect business-critical systems across the region. Thus Asia Pacific countries are being used as Launchpad for cyber-attacks.
•Global threat intelligence will play an increasingly important role in security: At the speed in which today’s threats evolve, being on the defensive will not protect any enterprise effectively. This requires the support of a global threat intelligence network and teams of security experts who can make sense of security data to produce actionable insights. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning can play crucial roles in the analysis. These technologies will be the keys to strategic advantage in understanding and staying ahead of threats. AI can yield actionable insights from the massive amount of data that flows through networks and fiber backbones.