THE Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint specifically sets out to map the importance of cybersecurity, listing it under one of the six main thrusts of the blueprint; to build trusted, secure and ethical digital environment.

Cybersecurity sets the foundation from which businesses and enterprises can operate and grow in a safe and secure digital environment.

New working arrangement in the new norm, i.e. working from home, also contributed to a surge in cyber attacks. Most small and medium enterprises (SME) utilise a “Bring Your Own Device” approach, which significantly exposes valuable data and information to cyber attacks, and various malicious forms of intrusion. SME bear the brunt of these attacks.

In 2020, Malaysia recorded 6,512 cybersecurity incidents. In the period between January and May, the number of incidents recorded stood at 4,615, representing an almost one-fold increase in threats and incidents comparatively.

Cyber crimes have also shown an upward trend. According to police statistics, the number of cyber crimes reported in 2019 were 11,875 cases, with RM498 million in terms of losses. Last year, the number of cases increased to 14,229, with total losses of RM413 million. In the first quarter of this year, the number of cases reported was 4,327 and the losses involved were RM77 million.

As the world grapples with the effects of the pandemic, malicious attacks and serious data breaches are also increasing at an alarming rate, compounding the situation and putting into sharp focus the criticality of having a robust cybersecurity system in place.

According to Deloitte, unseen (previously undocumented) malware or methods employed by hackers and cyber attackers have risen 30% during the pandemic as opposed to 20% pre-pandemic. SME contribute a large percentage to our overall gross domestic product (GDP), 38.9% in 2019, while the digital economy contributed 19.1% in the same period. Thus, it is imperative that we ensure the appropriate safeguards are in place.

Cybersecurity adoption for SME and as a whole is no longer an option but a necessity. To put it in numbers:

0 84% of SME in Malaysia have been compromised by cyber threat incidents.

0 76% SME have suffered more than one attack.

Cognisant of this situation, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the nation’s lead agency in digital transformation, in collaboration with the National Cyber Security Agency (NACSA) and SME Corporation Malaysia have set out to develop and implement Matrix Cybersecurity for SME (Matrix).

The programme, launched on June 28 by Deputy Prime Minister, Senior Minister for Security and Minister of Defence Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob during the Cyber Defence & Security Exhibition and Conference, aims to boost cybersecurity adoption and implementation among SME from all sectors in Malaysia.

Matrix is a first-of-its-kind in Malaysia and the region as it is designed to facilitate the acceleration of SME cybersecurity adoption. This programme is customised and designed to fit with the DNA of SME.

NACSA – the national lead agency for cybersecurity – chief executive Ir Md Shah Nuri Md Zain said: “The Matrix programme is established to address current cybersecurity challenges faced by SME.

“Matrix will support one of its five strategic pillars and protect SME businesses, which is the foundation of the national economy and future economy. As digital economy grows, cyber attacks will multiply with higher business impact.

“SME will be the biggest target due to its lack of resources and expertise to manage cybersecurity operations. Matrix can manage those challenges and it will be a sustainable approach.”

A robust cybersecurity system will integrate the virtual and physical spaces securely, resulting in a balanced economic advancement which resonates with Malaysia’s 5.0 vision to be a nation that is deeply integrated with technology, providing equitable digital opportunities to the people and businesses. It is also in line with Malaysia’s National Cybersecurity Strategy.

The Matrix programme will also accelerate the journey of digital transformation and enhance the cybersecurity experience through two key value propositions:

0 Simple – Easy to adopt and cost-effective with minimum supervision.

0 Smarter – Visibility by staying ahead of threats and scalable with business.

The Matrix programme has also taken into consideration the challenges faced by SME in adopting cybersecurity measures i.e. lack of funds and resources, limited access to expertise and tools, and the complexity of deployment and operation. It sets out to assist SME end to end, identifying the potential gaps in cybersecurity, the priorities and offering a cost-effective measure.

The programme utilises a three-pronged strategy to mitigate and prevent instances of cyberattacks. First, it provides a 24-hour cybersecurity surveillance to discover and flag attacks to business operations. Secondly, it will provide critical asset protection, deploying the measures against attacks on servers. And thirdly, it continuously assesses the vulnerability and gaps as the threat of cyberattacks evolve.

The rapid growth of ICT and technology bring with it a tremendous opportunity for Malaysia’s cybersecurity industry. International Data Corporation reported that cybersecurity spending for Malaysia reached RM2.6 billion (US$627 million) in 2019, and is expected to exceed the RM4 billion (US$1 billion) mark by 2024. For the next five years, it is expected to remain robust and will see steady growth at a rate of 12.5% (CAGR).

As cybersecurity is a domain that is continuously evolving and improving, with new technologies, processes and methods, it will continue to expand the in-flow of investments and accelerate the growth of Malaysia’s cybersecurity ecosystem. At present, the local cybersecurity industry partners that have joined the Matrix programme include TIME dotcom Berhad, NetAssist (M) Sdn Bhd, PERNEC Technologies Sdn Bhd, DNSVault Sdn Bhd, Securemetric Technology Sdn Bhd and Tecforte Sdn Bhd.

With so much at stake, not only must we be vigilant but also have the corresponding counter-measure in place. To learn more of the Matrix Cybersecurity for SME, visit: http://mdec.my/matrix.

MDEC will also be kicking off its second edition of the highly-anticipated and successful Malaysia Tech Month (MTM) on July 29. MTM is a month-long curation of electrifying digital and technology keynotes, workshops, discussion panels and business-matching sessions. It will feature distinguished group of local and international industry speakers and investors to share their expert thoughts and experiences in 4IR-driven digital economy. The MDEC Digital Adoption Ecosystems division will be curating a week-long series of events at MTM.

To participate, visit https://mdec.my/mtm2021

https://www.thesundaily.my/opinion/protecting-sme-from-cyber-attacks-IF8135082

Original article