For Eugene Kaspersky, the COVID-19 pandemic disconnected everyone physically and severely impacted the global economy. Employees could not go to work and many industries saw thousands of employees lose their jobs.
At the same time though, the CEO of Kaspersky felt the pandemic did have some positives. For one, the pandemic created the importance of the need to develop tech not only for remote working but also for industrial systems.
There was an increased demand for systems to be able to be controlled remotely. While Eugene believes the process is not new, it definitely accelerated the development. This also consequently led to cybersecurity companies having to develop technology to make these updates more secure.
Speaking to media from his office during the Asia Pacific (APAC) Online Policy Forum II, the conference featured top industry and policy experts from the region. Among them included Nguyen Huy Dung, Vice Minister, Ministry of Information and Communications, Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam; Nur Achmadi Salmawan, Director of National Critical Information Infrastructure, National Cyber and Crypto Agency (BSSN), Government of Indonesia, Azleyna Ariffin, Principal Assistant Director, National Cyber Security Agency, Government of Malaysia and Dr Greg Austin, Professor of Cyber Security, Strategy and Diplomacy, University of New South Wales; and Senior Fellow for Cyber, Space and Future Conflict, International Institute for Strategic Studies
In his speech, Eugene noted the shift of cybercriminals’ targets from smartphones and personal devices to industrial control system and IoT. He also shared the perspective of the private sector to address challenges in building cyber-resilient and cyber-secure digital transformation in APAC.
“There is no magic to make full safety and security. It has to be a combination of technology, education and government regulation in cyberspace as well as ensuring the investigations and law enforcement are enforced to get the bad guys. Government regulations are important, especially when it comes to international cyber investigations. There are just too many of them. The only question is, can all nations afford to do this”? commented Eugene.
Acknowledging the COVID-19 aftermath of increased reliance in technology and devices, all of the speakers with Kaspersky agreed that regional collaboration, private and public high-level cooperation, and knowledge sharing are essential ingredients in building a country’s cybersecurity.
Interestingly, Eugene also felt that once the pandemic is under control, cybercriminals may “take some time off and go on vacation”. Simply because cybercriminals are already working from home. They have all the experience needed to wreak havoc and once they have earned enough or when the pandemic is under control, they will most likely take a break. However, they will definitely be back.
“There are no superheroes in cyberspace. To save cyberspace, we all need to work together. Everyone must be their own superhero and join forces against cyber threats”, said Eugene.
Panellist Dr Greg felt otherwise. He believes that when employees go back to the office, mistakes will be made again and cybercriminals will be waiting to pounce on them. He explained that there were mistakes made when employees moved to work at home, which led to cybercriminal opportunities. And when they go back to the office, the same might happen.
Which is why Dr Greg strongly believes that businesses should look into having refresher and familiarisation courses for their employees who return to work after a long absence from the office. Education may just end up saving the company from experiencing any threats.
Attended by more than 1,000 participants from across the region, including C-level officers from various sectors, top government officials and members of the media, the forum underlined how policies and strategies are formed in APAC, how these remain relevant and effective amidst the continued shift of the region’s threat landscape and how governments can be one step ahead of cybercriminals.