KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 — Manufacturing and government sectors account for almost 40 per cent of Malaysia’s organisational cyberattacks in 2023, according to Asia’s largest comprehensive cybersecurity solutions provider, (Ensign).

In its Cyber Threat Landscape Report, it said the top three targeted sectors were manufacturing (20 per cent), government (18.2 per cent) as well as technology, media, and telecommunications (14.5 per cent).

This was followed by the professional services (9.1 per cent) and retail (7.4 per cent) sectors.

Ensign said of all cyber incidents observed, more than 58 per cent were motivated by ransom, which was the primary outcome pursued by cyber threat actors.

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“Hacktivism was highlighted as a significant threat to organisations, as a spillover from geopolitical conflicts in other regions,” it said in a statement.

According to the report, Malaysia has become an attractive destination for multinational companies looking to relocate their high-tech manufacturing businesses.

However, companies in this sector are highly attractive targets for cybercriminals due to three possible reasons, starting with the possession of valuable data ranging from contracts, supplier details, trade secrets, industrial designs, and personal information.

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“Second is the operation of continuously running machinery where disruptions could impact safety or business operations, and third is generally lower cyber hygiene compared to other more tightly regulated industries,” it said.

Similarly, it said the government sector holds a wealth of valuable data, including information on national security, the citizens and public services, making it a lucrative target for cyber threats.

“With growing interests and fragmentation in geopolitics, government agencies will continue to face increased targeting for political leverage,” it said.

Ensign InfoSecurity Malaysia general manager, Chee Yee Cheng said the marked increase in targeted attacks on essential sectors such as manufacturing and government signals an urgent need for a more comprehensive and coordinated approach to cybersecurity in these areas.

“Through Ensign’s Cyber Threat Landscape Report, we hope to help establish more rigorous cyber hygiene standards and practices, ensuring that these sectors are adequately prepared to defend against and deter cybercriminals,” said Chee. — Bernama