Government systems face more cyber threats
14th March 2005 (Computimes)

INFORMATION and communications technology (ICT) networks and systems in the Government are facing a serious threat of cyber attacks. So far this year, a whopping 100 million intrusion attempts have been detected by the Government Computer Emergency Response Team, a special team established by Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu) to address ICT security incidences in the public sector.

The figure marks a substantial jump from the 400 million attempts recorded in the 12-month period from January to December last year. Of that 400 million intrusion alerts, 23 attempts resulted in serious cases in terms of intrusion and data integrity, according to a Mampu official.

"We addressed these cases by working together with the relevant authorities such as the police."

Even though no serious cases of cyber attacks have been reported this year, ICT security is getting more attention from the Government. Several measures have been prescribed to over 700 Government agencies, including conducting a security posture assessment to review the weaknesses of their ICT networks and systems.

Asked about the Web defacement of several Government sites this month, the official said these cases are classified as non -serious attacks because they do not affect operations or data integrity.

The Web defacement cases resulted from some 2,400 intrusion attempts early this month mainly originating from Indonesia. Such cases can be considered seasonal and could be linked to recent events involving Malaysia and Indonesia.

"These are seasonal attacks and done in the heat of the moment. Seasonal attacks also increase during major international events such as World Trade Organisation meetings," the official explained.

Mampu has recommended that Government agencies implement the latest patches and increase the security of their computer servers by using hardening tools.

Apart from providing guidelines and measures to safeguard ICT networks and systems in the public sector, the Government launched the Government Security Web portal (www.prisma-mampu. last year.

The portal serves as a one-stop reference centre on ICT security providing information that can be used by the public sector and the public as well.