KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 7 — Rising awareness of the importance of cybersecurity has led to improved focus within Malaysian companies in addressing cyberthreats, according to technology group Cisco.
Its 2019 Asia Pacific CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) Benchmark Study revealed that Malaysia posted an improvement in the percentage of companies receiving more than 10,000 cyber alerts a day, Cisco Malaysia managing director Albert Chai told a media briefing on the study here today.
In 2019, 43 per cent of the respondents in Malaysia received more than 10,000 alerts on a daily basis, down from 46 per cent in 2018.
This was better than the Asia-Pacific average of 46 per cent (2018: 56 per cent) but was not up to the global average of 35 per cent (2018: 44 per cent). “Global” refers to 18 countries from a separate survey, of which four are in Asia-Pacific.
In Malaysia, 44 per cent of the alerts were investigated, also an improvement compared with 40 per cent in 2018.
However, organisations in Asia-Pacific continued to struggle to cope with security, with the number of investigated alerts declining to 44 per cent on average from 56 per cent in 2018. The worldwide figure for alert investigation was 51 per cent.
Meanwhile, 45 per cent of genuine alerts were addressed in Malaysia last year compared to 44 per cent remedied in 2018.
Malaysian companies are also seeing relatively low costs from breaches. Only 23 per cent of the respondents said their most significant breaches cost US$1 million (RM4.09 million) or more, falling from 50 per cent in 2018.
Meanwhile, 23 per cent of breaches in Asia-Pacific last year cost US$2.5 million and up, while the global average was 15 per cent.
However, Malaysian companies tend to face a longer downtime following a data breach, with 27 per cent experiencing downtime of more than 24 hours, compared to 4.0 per cent on average globally and 23 per cent for Asia-Pacific.
“The data seem to show that Malaysia is doing a lot better than regional and global peers in many aspects, and kudos to Malaysians for a lot higher awareness of the importance of cybersecurity, which is clearly a foundation to everything digital that we are embarking on,” he said.
Chai expressed hope that government and corporate leaders in Malaysia would continue to work together to address cybersecurity challenges in 2020.
“We want more public-private partnerships in cybersecurity, for example, in intelligence sharing and by having an industrial alliance or forum that allows organisations to share confidentially and securely cybersecurity threats and challenges so we can learn from each other,” Chai added.
Meanwhile, Cisco cyber security sales director for Asean, Kerry Singleton, said the 5G roll-out and rising Internet of Things (IoT) adoption may increase cyber attacks; hence the need for data sharing and continuous collective efforts by countries to increase awareness on cyberthreats.
“The attackers are sharing information with each other,” he warned, adding that countries must therefore be transparent in addressing cybersecurity issues.
Hackers, he said, were no longer just targeting information technology infrastructure with more organisations in Asia-Pacific expecting operational technology (OT) attacks to increase.
Singleton said Cisco’s findings showed 73 per cent of respondents in the region and 64 per cent of those globally expected the OT attack trend to increase this year.
About 2,000 respondents from 11 Asia-Pacific countries participated in the study. — Bernama