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Sunday May 7, 2006

Malaysia welcomes the world in fight against cyber-terrorism


IMPACT is its name, and making an impact in the battle against cyber-terrorism is its mission. Unveiled in Austin, Texas, the Malaysian initiative seeks to bring together governments and the international private sector to deal with increasing threats in cyberspace. 

Known as the “International multilateral partnership against cyber-terrorism” or “IMPACT” it will serve as a pioneer platform to allow governments of the world to exchange notes and ideas, as well as to facilitate the sharing of skills and best practices, with the ultimate objective of combating these constantly evolving threats. 

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who made this announcement at the closing ceremony of the 15th World Congress on IT (WCIT 2006) here on Friday said that IMPACT was not just a Malaysian concern. 

“IMPACT is conceived as a partnership – between governments, as well as between governments of the world and the international private sector. 

“Given that some of the best skills and technologies in cyber-security reside in the private sector, it is only natural that all governments need to work closely with businesses to effectively combat cyber-terrorism,” he said. 

He said the potential to wreak havoc and cause disruption to people, firms, governments and entire global systems have increased as the world became more globalised and dependent on information and communications technology (ICT). 

“Today, governments across the world must be prepared to deal with threats in cyberspace. 

“Even if one were to exclude the risks to life and limb, the economic loss caused by the disruption of a cyber-attack can be truly severe – for example, a nationwide blackout, collapse of trading systems or perhaps the crippling of a central bank cheque clearing system,” he said. 

He said the threats posed by cyber-terrorism were something that modern societies and their governments could no longer ignore. 

“No country can manage this problem in isolation and to effectively overcome this global threat and it is imperative that countries throughout the world work in concert to wipe out this danger.” 

IMPACT has got off to a good start with some leading names lending their support. “America’s Symantec Corporation, Japan’s Trend Micro, and Russia’s KaperskyLlab have already agreed to be key partners and to serve on IMPACT’s international advisory board to be established soon,” he said. 

The Prime Minister said he was encouraged that the private sector, globally, has given its strong support and expected more of such world-class companies following suit. 

For a start, IMPACT would focus its activities in three key areas – security certification, research and development; as well as establishing a global emergency response centre. 

IMPACT will be sited in Cyberjaya, at the heart of “MSC Malaysia,” with access to world-class ICT infrastructure. 

“I am confident that IMPACT, with the co-operation of governments and the global private sector, will be able to find effective solutions to the global threat of cyber-terrorism,” Abdullah said. 

“I would like to invite all governments and the global private sector to partner with us in this worthy cause,” he added. 

On the WCIT, the Prime Minister said Malaysia was honoured and excited about hosting the next congress in 2008. 

“Apart from expanding our partnerships with global technology leaders, we see our hosting of WCIT 2008 as an opportunity to stimulate further discussion on technology and technology-related policy development,” Abdullah said. 

He also thanked former US secretary of state Colin Powell, who was one of the keynote speakers on Friday, for his kind words about Malaysia.  

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