Expert: Malaysia ill-prepared for cyber attacks

CF-FongGEORGE TOWN: A cyber security expert today urged the authorities to take cyber security and cyber warfare more seriously.

CF Fong, who is the founder of security services firm LGMS, said the country was currently ill-prepared to face such attacks.

He cited the example of the WannaCry ransomware attack which happened in May and questioned how many of those affected locally had actually reported it.

“Even when they were attacked and got affected, a majority of them remained silent. Furthermore, there is no intelligence sharing.

“Without all these, the authorities will not be able to assess our situation and issue corresponding alerts,” he told FMT.

The WannaCry ransomware caused worldwide chaos for individuals, businesses and public bodies. The virus encrypts data on infected computers then asks users to pay a “ransom” in order to receive a code that unencrypts the data.

Fong also noted that when the attack happened, only two official incidents were reported to the authorities but his firm had been working on at least 16 WannaCry recovery cases.

In light of this, he said the authorities needed to enhance cyber laws to mandate the disclosure of hacking incidents, such as data leaks, corporate espionage and fraud.

He said that currently, when organisations or companies were hit by hackers, they were not obligated to disclose the incident, even if the incident dealt with public interests.

“Mandating the disclosure of such incidents will also enhance threat intelligence sharing.

“For instance, if an organisation was hit by virus XYZ, which then leads to loss of data, they may or may not share the information with other organisations.

“The intel may just stop there,” he said.

Fong said there was also a lack of official statistics on cyber attacks in the country.

“We do not have official statistics of how many sites actually got hit, how many servers, what techniques hackers were using, among others.

“All these are important indicators for others in preventing similar attacks,” he added.