400 ICT security cases hit M'sia yearly
By Sreejit Pillai
10th April 2001 (Malaysia.CNET.com)

KUALA LUMPUR--Malaysia has experienced some 1,713 ICT security cases since 1997, making that an average of 400 new cases a year, the Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi revealed today.

Citing the National ICT Security Emergency Response Center (NISER) statistics, he said that for every case detected, there are more than 50 cases unreported and another 50 more undetected.

"The statistics indictate that ICT security cases are not going to go away and are expected to increase further as computer literacy rates improve.

"The potential and actual challenges confronting Malaysia in cyberspace are expected to grow in the next few decades as cyberspace expands to envelop larger areas of social, economic and political activity," Abdullah said.

Hackers, he added, would be tempted to attack financial systems such as electronic banking and payment systems as well as the country's defence systems which can have a huge impact on national security.

As such, Abdullah said, it is vital to have a pro-active policy concerning cyber attacks, adding it is hoped that NISER could play a pivotal role in this direction.

He said this in his speech in conjunction with the official launch of NISER which will provide specialised ICT security consultancy services to the government and private companies. The Cabinet gave the green light for this body in January 1998.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Bernard Dompok read Abdullah's speech out in the latter's absence.

Concern over the invasion of privacy via the Internet has also compelled the government to review of some cyber laws and regulations under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and the upcoming Personal Data Protection Act, Abdullah said.

But enforcement of cyber law, he acknowledged, would not be easy.

"There were occasions where hackers were caught while intruding online but the victims refused to make any official police report," Abdullah said.

Another motivation for the setting up of NISER is the real danger of theft of vital government and corporate information via the Internet.

NISER is currently collaborating with System Administration and Network Security (SANS), an American ICT security institute to further improve the country's array of tools to fight cyber crime.