As the world continues to meld with the Internet of Things, our critical infrastructure, industries and 21st century way of life comes increasingly under threat from cyber-attacks. Incidents in recent years, such as the breach of Ukraine’s power grid by anonymous hackers in late 2015 where tens of thousands temporarily without electricity, demonstrate the potentially devastating systemic effects on core elements of society like economy and health when cyber vulnerabilities are exploited.
These threats can be of an external or internal nature: From the outside, malicious organisations and individuals frequently conduct coordinated hacking attempts to disrupt normal operability of companies and critical national assets; On the inside, vulnerabilities in the information management system can be exposed by human error or purposeful human destruction such as in the case of the United States National Security Agency (NSA) with Edward Snowden.
Cyber security has traditionally been driven by advancements in technical design, but in today’s circumstances, it has to be more than that. At the industry level, there is a general lack of understanding amongst business leaders of the increased sophistication of cyber threats. Domestically, patchwork legislation centred more around compliance than security hinder effective preparation for the myriad of threats to come, and internationally, there is room for more openness and cooperation amongst governments to share information regarding local cyber-attacks.
Modern cyber security now requires participation at all levels and demands a top-down approach with greater collaboration between the government, instated regulatory agencies and the industry.
The ASEAN Cyber Collaboration Centre (ACCC) initiative aims to form a federation of national Security Operations Centres (SOC) from all 10 member states of ASEAN. It will provide the platform for horizontal exchange of information on threat surveillance at the governmental and industrial levels as well as facilitate regional research into security solutions leveraging technology and best-practices. Through regional cooperation, the ACCC will assist ASEAN SOCs in building versatile and resilient cyber security strategies capable of securing critical infrastructure and industry assets in the face of rapidly evolving digital threats. As we look to forge an integrated Smart ASEAN of the future, it is ever more imperative that a unified cyber security web safeguards our interconnected and interdependent economies and communities.