Govt agencies taught to handle cyberattacks

SUNGAI BESI: The National Security Council and Cybersecurity Malaysia are equipping the staff at government agencies with knowledge on how to deal with cyberattacks.

The participants are put through simulated exercises to assess their readiness to cope with cyberattacks, under the Cyber Crisis Exercises which are also known as X-Maya.

In its third installation, which was carried out between June 24 and Aug 2, the participants were taught to handle malicious code and botnet attacks.

Thirty-four organisations from nine Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII) sectors took part in this installation of X-Maya.

The sectors are health, water, banking and finance, information and communications, energy, transport, defense and security, government and agriculture.

Last year, 28 CNII organisations participated. They were trained to understand and manage webpage defacements and distributed denial of service attacks (DDos).

Cybersecurity Malaysia said the increase in organisations participating in the exercises shows a growing awareness of the need to have proper procedures in place to manage a cybercrisis.

In the X-Maya exercise, participants have to analyse and solve cyberattack scenarios designed by Cybersecurity Malaysia’s experts.

Zahri Yunos, Cybersecurity Malaysia chief operating officer, said the exercise has helped the participants improve their defensive skills against cybercrimes.

“They are ready to face any cyberattack but just need to better familiarise themselves with the defensive procedures,” he said.

Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Haji Fadillah Yusof said it’s vital for government employees, especially those manning IT infrastructure, to know how to handle cyberattacks.

“Cyberattacks are on the rise as more and more people rely on ICT (information and communications technology) in their daily lives,” he said, while officiating at the closing ceremony of the X-Maya exercise.


In the first six months of this year, Cybersecurity Malaysia logged 2,991 cases of cybercrime detected nationwide, compared to 1,525 cases in the same period last year.

“This represents an 88.7% increase and most of these cases involved fraud, system intrusion and malicious code attacks,” Fadillah said.

The participants in the exercise are also asked to provide the National Security Council with feedback that can be used to enhance the National Cyber Crisis Management Plan, which outlines the steps to effectively combat cyberattacks.

Datuk Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said the feedback would help the nation be better prepared to ward off a cybercrisis.

“We must address these threats effectively because there is a range of ICT-dependent public services which are critical components in maintaining social, economic and political stability, as well as national security,” he said.

The National Security Council comes under the purview of the Prime Minister’s Department while Cybersecurity Malaysia is a national specialist centre for cybersecurity that reports to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

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