Awareness Sorely Lacking Around Cyber Security

"It is still in its early stages". That is the consensus one will gather from the discussion held by expert speakers who were at the ASEAN Cybersecurity Summit here in Singapore today. The one-day summit on ‘Building a resilient and innovative ASEAN' by the EC Council, had panelists from both government and private sectors discussing how the world powers are dealing with the latest cyber threats and what can be expected for the future.

The consensus that was apparent, was that technology such as IoT, AI, and machine learning is moving at breakneck speeds. And that has left a lot to be desired in the security sector. From business application education to hardware and the basic awareness of the individual on how to be better at looking after their personal security, is sorely lacking. Technology and especially Cyber Security awareness is very much at an early stage they shared.

Aman Dhingra, an associate partner at McKinney and Company shared how easy it is to ‘accidentally' hack countries. He gave an example how a boy from his garage used machine learning to perform a hack that by simply adding 60 most used passwords into the system, the boy managed to hack numerous government and private companies. 

Tay Bee Kheng, Board Member for Asia Cloud Computing Association who spoke about the Smart City initiative in Singapore, shared that having a multitude of sensors without the proper protocols to secure those endpoint devices, means that personal information is at risk of being hacked. 

The panelists also discussed how ‘day' and ‘dark' operatives work in the cyber world. The day being the normal usage of technology, while dark is how cybercriminals operate. They consented that as much as ML and AI can be used for good, it can also be used for bad. Understanding this and having conversations about it between governments and companies worldwide, will help to narrow the gap that currently exists between those who are successful with the dark part of technology. The ‘Day' will never be able to understand the ‘Dark' methods. Having a platform that discusses this will help find solutions to this problem.

A pertinent issue brought up by Dr. Steven Wong, President of the Association for Information Security and Professionals, was what is considered IoT in one region of the world, might not be so in another region. What one region recognises as a cyber threat, may not be recognised in another. And he believes this divide needs to be addressed both between governments and corporations. Memorandums need to be signed and people need to start looking at becoming coherent to one another.

As the world of technology explodes into every segment of society and business, the technology to secure and protect has become paramount. The growth of any country's smart city initiative depends on it. Making sure that not only the education and platforms are available for people to learn and arm themselves with the knowledge, but that the technology too can be used as a first response to prevention of cybercrime.

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