Honing our cybersecurity skills

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PUTRAJAYA: Most representatives from the public and private sectors, who took part in the recent X Maya 4 exercise aimed at improving their skills to handle a cybersecurity ­crisis, learned a lot.

But there is still a small ­percentage of staff in these ­sectors who have yet to grasp ­cybersecurity issues and would have some ­difficulty in the event of a ­cyberattack, according to the National Security Council (NSC).

“For some of them, their ­awareness of the issues is still low and therefore they are unfamiliar with the procedures. This exercise is meant to rectify that,” said Ir Shah Nuri Md Zain, undersecretary of the NSC’s cyber and space security division.

He said that for these agencies, it could also be because this is the first time they are participating in such an exercise and did not know what to expect.

Ninety-eight percent of the ­participants from 66 agencies were able to handle the mock ­cyberattacks on their systems. “These were almost like the real thing,” said Shah.

“Many of the participants had a heightened level of ­understanding about the issues and the ­procedures,” he said. They also improved their skills in thwarting cyberattacks.

Participants were given two scenarios to handle — web server intrusion and rootkit malware removal.

According to Shah, the ­participants were quick to deal with the first exercise but the second proved to be quite the challenge.

Not spared

Malaysia has not been spared from cyberattacks and cybersecurity issues. In June, global hacktivist group Anonymous tried to bring down several government sites in the country.

Anonymous was ­protesting against what it claimed was Malaysia’s attempt to censor the Internet. The Government had blocked several filesharing sites and sparked off the protest.

There have also been concerns by Malaysian companies following cyberattacks on several high-­profile companies, including Japanese ­electronics giant Sony Corp, in the middle of the year.

“Cyberthreats will always be around,” said CyberSecurity Malaysia chief executive officer Lt Col (ret) Datuk Prof Husin Jazri.

“The X Maya exercise empowers the public and private sectors — such as banking, healthcare, defence and communications — with the skills to better protect the nation’s information infrastructure.”

X Maya is an annual exercise organised by the NSC, the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, and CyberSecurity Malaysia. This is the fourth time it has been held.

Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Datuk Seri Panglima Maximus Ongkili officiated at the closing ceremony of the exercise last week.

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