The topic of cybersecurity continues to grab frontpage headlines across the world and specifically here in Southeast Asia. Periodically those headlines focus around breaches of security and various different attacks that have taken place against critical infrastructure while other times, thankfully, those headlines focus on efforts being made to prevent the next attack.

It has recently been reported that following recent government level discussions in Cambodia, the ASEAN-Japan Cyber Security Capacity Building Centre has been founded in Thailand with the stated objective of training “personnel from countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to help combat cyber threats in the attack-prone region”.

While this together with other government initiatives in the region to improve regulatory and legislative infrastructure to combat cybersecurity should be celebrated, the question of “is this enough” remains and the answer is still “yes and no”.

Find out Eric Dadoun’s tips on how to survive a cybersecurity attack

Regional cooperation is required

As the African proverb goes, “it takes a village to raise a child” and ASEAN would be wise to learn from the wisdom of this proverb. Only through close coordination, sharing of resources and a collective mindset will cybersecurity be properly tackled in the years and decades to come.

The infrastructure to do so is being built but the links need to be established. If we take Singapore as an example there are excellent initiatives taking place in both the private and public sectors. The Singapore Cybersecurity Consortium (SCC) which is anchored by NUS is working towards the engagement of industry, academia, and government while The Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) is taking a more government-led approach to protecting the digital borders and infrastructure in Singapore.

London cityscape at daytime

We are all interconnected though in this digital world and so an attack on critical infrastructure anywhere in the region will be felt elsewhere regardless of the domestic steps being taken to prevent an attack. While services may continue to operate in Singapore after a regional attack, financial markets may be impacted due to the fear and panic that may follow. Fact is, simply put, we are all in this together. We do not have the luxury of operating in silos when it comes to the regional and global effort towards cybersecurity.

So what should be done? To the credit of the governments and academic bodies in the region, a lot more of the same actually and that is already something worth applauding. In the view of our team at Twizo, there are four primary pillars that must be worked on.

Education:

Cybersecurity can only be dealt with if the right tools and human resources are put in place to address it in the years and decades to come. As is the case with most things that battle starts on the education front and there are plenty of regional universities working on offering both AI and cybersecurity-focused programs for their students. In conjunction to class programs, we applaud any efforts along the lines of those from NUS with the SCC that help foster cooperation and community discussion on the topic.

This has to come from the academic community but regional governments could take a page out of the Singapore militaries playbook by offering recruits training in AI and other “future tech” so as to prepare them for their return to the civilian world.

Government:

We advocate for and support any government level initiative towards educating the public on the threats and dangers related to cybersecurity as well as the recommended steps we can all take in our private levels to safeguard ourselves. The types of bodies being formed in Thailand, Singapore and elsewhere are huge steps forward with respect to creating a cohesive regional “battle plan” for the digital fights that we will all face in the future.

Eric shares his thoughts on cybersecurity in the region.

Enterprise:

At Twizo we are working hard to create authentication solutions that are frictionless, cost-effective and secure. Safeguarding ourselves online is something we truly believe in and so we stand ready to support any company that is working towards making consumer and corporate adoption of authentication solutions easier.

Cooperation:

As is the case with domestic strategies towards cybersecurity that each regional country is working on implementation, each of these pillars cannot work in a silo if they are to be successful. It is the role of the public, academia, the corporate world, and government agencies to work towards sharing of resources.

There will likely never be a “silver bullet” to prevent any and all cyber attacks but through initiatives like the ones mentioned in this article as well as the types of solutions offered by Twizo, we can confidently say that there are existing methods that can be implemented today to minimize the risk of potentially being victimized online.  

This article was contributed by Twizo Chief Commercial Officer, Eric Dadoun.

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About the author

Erid Dadoun profile

Eric brings a world of knowledge, relationships and experience with him built on 15 years in the startup, tech and business world after having started his first company at 17 years old.

Eric now plays an integral role at Impiro and within some of its portfolio companies, Silverstreet and Twizo included, in terms of driving partner relationship development, strategy and new initiatives. His strong focus on providing great value, transparency and dedication to his partners has become synonymous with his approach to business and a foundational aspect of everything he does at the group.

Eric was born in Canada and is today based out of Singapore.

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