Cybercrime increasing as more people rely on digital tech during pandemic, says PM

PUTRAJAYA: The higher usage of digital technology during the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a rise in cybercrimes and heightened security issues in Malaysia, says Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Speaking at the virtual launch of the Cyber Defence and Security and Exhibition Conference 2021 (CYDES 2021), the Prime Minister said the "worrying" increase has become a problem that warrants the country's serious attention.

"Due to the Covid-19 pandemic today, we are living in a vastly different world.

"Our lifestyles have changed and thus, embracing digital technology has become a new norm.

"Now, more Malaysians are getting themselves involved in e-commerce.

"Our students have become more exposed to online classrooms while the economic and government sectors are relentlessly enhancing efficiency through digitalisation.

"But this reliance has not only created new opportunities but also opened up the floodgate of threats, risks and vulnerabilities.

"Irresponsible cyber criminals are exploiting the situation to carry out their malicious intent.

"In 2019, the number of cyber incidents reported stood at 3,787. By 2020, the incidences spiralled to a worrying 10% to 4,194. This year, the number is expected to surge further as can be seen in the first quarter of this year alone where 1,300 cyber incidents have been reported.

"Cybercrimes have also shown an upward trend.

"According to the police statistics, in 2019 the number of cybercrimes reported was 11,875 cases, with RM498mil in terms of losses.

"Last year, the number of cases increased to 14,229, with total losses of RM413mil. In the first quarter of this year, the number of cases reported was 4,327 and the losses involved were RM77mil," said Muhyiddin in his speech.

He said the National Cyber Security Agency (NACSA), which falls under the National Security Council (NSC), has been tasked to lead the country's cyber security initiatives.

He added that Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob will be in charge of Malaysia's cyber security affairs.

"The government is serious and deeply committed to improving national resilience in safeguarding our cyber environment.

"All countries across the world should take this matter seriously," he said.

Muhyiddin also said the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDigital) reflects the government's commitment to improve national resilience in safeguarding the cyber environment.

He also said that the action plan under the Malaysia Cyber Security Strategy 2020-2024 would align with MyDigital initiatives with an aim to build a secure cyberspace.

MyDigital is an initiative to transform Malaysia into a digitally-driven, high-income nation and a regional leader in digital economy.

The initiative is designed to complement development policies such as the Twelfth Malaysia Plan and the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030.

CYDES 2021 is a biennial international conference and exhibition under the Malaysia Cyber Security Strategy (MCSS) 2020-2024.

"The objective of CYDES is to gather all cybersecurity experts to share their best practices and latest available technologies and updates.

"It is hoped that this conference will enable us to fight cybercrimes together, better. In the face of the increasing cyber threats, all of us must work together in sharing our experiences, knowledge and new technologies.

"CYDES will include the ASEAN Cybersecurity Forum, 12 MCSS track sessions, cyber podium, policy dialogues, virtual exhibitions, memorandum and letter of understanding signing ceremonies and discussions involving 30 nations with a total of 2,500 participants.

"There will be 80 companies promoting and showcasing their latest products," said Muhyiddin.

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