Gobind : ASEAN's digital development needs to embrace cybersecurity as high priority

Last update: 01/10/2019

By Massita Ahmad

SINGAPORE, Oct 1 (Bernama) – Southeast Asia 10-member nations’ digital development needs to embrace cybersecurity as a high priority.

Its leaders responsible for the development of Information and communications technology (ICT) and cybersecurity need to have a mind set change.

Malaysia’s Minister of Communications and Multimedia Gobind Singh Deo said this at a panel session titled 'Securing the Smart Digital Future' held in conjunction with the Singapore International Cyber Week (SICW) 2019 here today.

According to him, a top-down strategy is vital to inculcate a culture of cybersecurity throughout the nations and to provide adequate protections to the citizens.

Gobind who arrived here Monday for the fourth edition of SICW, outlined four essential actions which the region can undertake immediately.

To approach security as strategic investment and introduce trust as a competitive advantage was one of the actions, he said.

The region could also place emphasis on or to demand a robust cyber security strategy in measuring, controlling and responding to digital threats at national level as well as a regional level, he added.

Gobind shared the stage with his Brunei counterpart Dato Abdul Mutalib Yusof; Ambassador for Digital Affairs, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs France,  Henri Verdier; Chief Executive, National Cyber Security Centre, GCHQ UK, Ciaran Martin; and Assistant Secretary of Cyber, Infrastructure, and Resilience, Department of Homeland Security of US, Bryan Ware.

SICW 2019 was officially opened by Singapore Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean this morning.

The other two essential actions included to adopt more flexible and ubiquitous security measures when utilising emerging technologies which are clearly lacking in any security frameworks; and instill information sharing as a strategic asset to create trust toward effective collective action to secure the digital future.

Gobind noted that the digital future will be heavily dependent on the availability and integrity of the smart devices. 

“Sadly, even as we in ASEAN have embarked on various digital transformation efforts, there are still many parts of the security landscape which remains as an afterthought. 

“This is not surprising since security is considered by many as an added expense or at worse, one which slows down innovation efforts.” 

In fact, he said the smart devices were already inheriting security challenges due to the underlying issues in the technology architecture such as insufficient access control in authentication and authorisation.

“Such security challenges however do not seem to be slowing down the adoption of smart devices rather our citizens are adopting smart devices at a much greater scale and speed. Securing the smart digital future will increasingly be more complex,” said Gobind.