Usually a recession proves to be a hotbed for fraudulent activity as cybercriminals capitalise on a climate of consumer fear and anxiety. The threat of economic attack diverts political attention worldwide and cyber security is not given priority around the globe. Unless significant resources are committed to international efforts to fight malicious cyber activity, there is a risk that cyber crime will impact consumer confidence, further hindering the speed of global recovery. Cyber criminals cash in on consumer anxiety to profit from old-fashioned 'get rich quick' scams, desperate job seekers are recruited as 'money mules' to launder cyber criminal gains. Law enforcement forces on the front line often lack the specialist skills required to effectively fight cyber crime. The absence of dedicated and ongoing training, sufficient remuneration or a clear career path creates an inefficient workforce to combat cyber crime.
Government, industry and the general public must be more mindful of knowing the adversaries, improve technology to mitigate attacks and enhance cooperation and awareness. For year 2011 we witnessed cyber attacks of unprecedented sophistication on the government infrastructure as well as private sector. For the year 2012, we want to motivate the governments in implementing secure computing infrastructure and follow practices that adhere to international best practices. As we continue to witness sophisticated cyber attacks of unprecedented reach, demonstrating that malicious actors have the ability to compromise and control millions of computers that belong to governments, private enterprises and ordinary citizens.
Alex Ong, senior country manager, Symantec Malaysia:
According to 2011 Symantec State of Security Survey, organisations in Malaysia are increasing investments in staffing and budget for cyber security especially in Web and network security areas. In addition, compliance and strategic initiatives or innovative security measures are also areas that organisations in Malaysia have identified for improvement. These will spur the demand for workers with cyber security skills in the domestic market.
The economic uncertainties will not slow down cyber criminals. The underground economy is "recession-proof" and it has matured into an efficient, global marketplace in which stolen goods and fraud-related services are regularly bought and sold. The uncertainties in the economy will also drive organisations to be prudent in IT spending and optimise their current resources, especially in managing the rapid growth of data generated in their organisations. Organisations are expected to look for technologies that could reclaim and provision their current storage capacity for future use.
It's never too early to be prudent in IT spending, optimise existing resources and develop leaner operations for organisations in Malaysia. Driving domestic demand and developing local businesses will be a key priority; hence, initiatives to support the growth of local organisations, especially small and medium businesses (SMBs), will be critical. SMBs need to be empowered with technology that is user friendly with minimal management, but at the same time helps to increase efficiency and allows them to focus on their businesses. Ongoing education and awareness programs are essential to help SMBs realise not only the value of technology, but also smarter ways of investing in securing, storing and managing information effectively.
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