Philippine Air Force to build cybersecurity center in new deal with local tycoon

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) will be building a new cybersecurity center with funding from local tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan.

Pangilinan, President and CEO of Philippine conglomerate PLDT Group, will be building the MVP Cybersecurity Center for Excellence to enhance the PAF’s ability to counter cyberattacks.

This new facility can also be seen as part of the Philippine government’s digitalisation effort. PAF spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Aristides Galang, said that the center will house PAF’s other security departments, including the security operations center, the network operations center, and PAF’s cyber range.

Pangilinan’s PLDT Group is the parent company of Smart Telecommunications, one of the two largest telecommunications service providers in the country.

“We are one with the government in ensuring that our country is safe from cyber threats. We look forward to more engagements with the Philippine Air Force and the Armed Forces of the Philippines on this front,” said Pangilinan.

This is not the first collaboration between PAF and PLDT. In August 2020, both parties signed an agreement that saw PLDT’s Cyber Security Operations Group (CSOG) provide cybersecurity training to military officers in the PAF.

Hoplite Technology, launches a privacy-by-default anti-phishing solution 

With an inherent emphasis in “privacy-by-default”, Hoplite Technology, a cybersecurity SaaS developer, launched a free tool named Anti-Phishing Bot (APBot), a cloud-based solution that uses email sender’s behaviours and community crowdsourcing to protect vulnerable everyday-users from phishing attacks.

A phishing email is a form of cyberattacks where cybercriminals impersonate a trusted party to gain access to sensitive information. Due to the lack of ways to verify the identity of the senders, everyday users without technical training will often find it difficult to distinguish a phishing attack as the red flags are hidden in different parts of an email.

To protect users’ privacy, APBot follows the “privacy-by-default” principle to detect email frauds based on the sender’s behaviour, such as email delivery path, and network profile without reading the email content.

Unlike many anti-phishing solutions are designed for IT Administrators with cybersecurity knowledge, APBot is accessible for everyday users: users can detect and report a phishing email with one click; at the same time, similar emails will be flagged within the APBot community, and through this ecosystem, the detection accuracy of the AI-assisted tool is expected to improve, the company said.

“Traditionally, identifying phishing emails requires training and network knowledge, but APBot has simplified the process. We believe senior citizens and students who are more vulnerable to social engineering will benefit from the protections offered by APBot,” said Antony Ma, Founder at Hoplite Technology and Chairman of Cloud Security Alliance Hong Kong and Macau Chapter

The ease of use is one of the advantages of using APBot which does not require the users to have any relevant training and can be integrated with popular email tools, such as Gmail, Office 365 and Hotmail, as an add-on without software installation.

Ho Chi Minh City sets up cybercrime division

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam’s largest city, has just announced the establishment of a new police division to combat cybercrime in the country.

The new division for cybersecurity and high-tech crime will be run by the Ho Chi Minh City Police Department.

According to Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman of the Municipal People’s Committee, the creation of this department is to ensure cyber safety in Ho Chi Minh as part of the government’s efforts to build a smart city.

Assigned to lead the department is Senior Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen The Lam, who is also Deputy Chief of Staff for the Ho Chi Minh Police.

Cybersecurity in Vietnam

Vietnam is one of several countries in Southeast Asia that is actively working to tackle rising cases of cybercrime. In 2020, the country recorded 5,168 cases of cyberattacks.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications’ National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) has been at the forefront of patrolling the cyberspace and removing malware. In December, Vietnam reported 315 cases of cyberattacks, but this figure was a 54.48 percent decrease from the previous month of November.

In October 2020, the NCSC also launched a real-time malware review site to monitor cyberthreat activity across Vietnam.

TAC Security to foray into other markets outside India

TAC Security, an Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) empanelled information security organisation, is taking it’s new dark web threat intelligence solution, ESOF-DarkSec, to markets abroad.
This is an effort to address the growing demand for Cyber Security solutions and also add impetus to TAC Security’s global expansion plans . ESOF-DarkSec will be rolled out, to begin with in the North American market where it has a strong footprint and in the African market where it commenced operations. The company is further expanding operations in the Australian and European markets as well.

ESOF-DarkSec helps enterprises detect, measure, and identify the type of data available on the dark web about their companies.   “Data confidentiality has always been an issue for enterprise security teams, and the recent increases in the dark web exposure cases are intimidating for both governments and organizations. Cybersecurity threats are becoming more sophisticated with every passing day, and even more so during the COVID-19 outbreak where spear-phishing is being used as a tool to access critical data. We hope that the product will help inform business entities about the vulnerabilities of their infrastructure so they can secure their endpoints and networks against potential threats.” Chris Fisher, Chief Marketing Officer, TAC Security.

The launch is aligned with the rising number of data leaks on the dark web, which jeopardize sensitive information of government, businesses, and individuals alike. This cloud-based solution helps find the size, nature, and recent update (if any) of the leaked data on the darknet. ESOF-DarkSec also provides a dark web organization risk score on a scale from 0 to 10, so security teams can know the risk to the organization on available data in the dark web from and take action to mitigate the risk. The solution is available as a subscription plan in three tiers: Basic, Platinum, and Premium, with different price points based on deeper periodic scans.

Trishneet Arora, Founder and CEO of TAC Security said, “Data is the biggest asset for any entity in the current landscape. As much as it gives precious insights into enhancing customer experience, any unauthorized access to it can cause severe damage to personal, enterprise-level, or even national integrity, depending upon the nature of data. It is very difficult to get this data down once it enters the dark web. Knowing the extent of the dark web threat is pivotal as it enables an organization to analyze and limit the damages by taking preventive measures.”

TAC Security protects Banks and Financial Institutions, governments’ organisations, Fortune 500 companies, leading enterprises data around the world. TAC Security manages 5 million vulnerabilities through its Artificial intelligence (AI) based Vulnerability Management Platform ESOF. The company is also responsible for End to End Security Assessment of 200 UPI based Mobile Application for NPCI, an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India.

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Digital forensics market to reach $5203.3 million by 2026 

The global digital forensics market size is projected to reach $5203.3 million by 2026, according to research by Valuates Reports.

In 2020, this market was estimated to hit USD 4741.2 million, at a CAGR of 9%, with North America and Asia Pacific regions being the key growth contributors, during the period 2021-2026, according to Valuates research. 

Digital forensics is a technique which includes recovery and interpretation of data found in digital devices for use in a court of law. The digital forensic investigation comprises three stages which includes the acquisition of exhibits, investigation, and reporting. 

Increasing cybercrimes and innovation in digital forensic research show an increasing trend for the digital forensics market in the near future.

The major factors driving the growth of the Digital forensics market size are stringent government regulations, massive use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and the increasing instances of cyber-attacks on enterprises. As a result, businesses and organisations found it crucial to implement digital forensic technologies and services to recover data lost in an unusual event or attack, the report said.

Trends influencing the digital forensics market size

An increase in the use of IoT devices is expected to drive the growth of the digital forensics market size. The prevalence of IoT devices, such as smart transport, vehicle communication, autonomous vehicles and smart homes, has made themselves vulnerable to cyberattacks, the report said.

North America is expected to hold the largest digital forensic market share during the forecast period. 

Another cybersecurity vulnerability also drives the digital forensics market: cryptocurrencies, which is subjected to cyber-attacks on financial gains, geographic rivalry, interpersonal rivalry, and reputation defacement, the report added. 

An effective digital forensic solution is necessary to regenerate sensitive data that may have been lost during cryptocurrency storage or trade. 

Another key application of digital forensics lies in private and criminal investigations. Factors such as increasing Internet penetration, the use of electronic devices and smart devices, among others, have contributed to a spike in cyberattacks across the globe. 

The rising severity of cyberattacks is expected to further fuel the demand for digital forensic market size. Many companies in the region have embraced cloud technologies to streamline work processes. In addition, the rapid penetration of mobile devices, such as smartphones, and laptops, to support business continuity has further accelerated the frequency of cyberattacks in the region.

The North American digital forensics market’s main growth driver is the widespread adherence to data enforcement regulations by all businesses and the rapid introduction of cloud computing.  Asia Pacific region is expected to witness the highest growth during the forecast period due to increasing instances of cybercrimes, the report said.


Avast identifies new cybersecurity threat targeting Mongolian Government data center

Avast, a global leader in cybersecurity and privacy software, has identified a new advanced persistent threats (APT) campaign targeting government agencies and a government data center in Mongolia. 


Avast researchers consider a Chinese-speaking APT group to be the attacker, however, the actual objective of the group remains unknown


The likely culprit, LuckyMouse, otherwise known as EmissaryPanda and APT27, is infamous for attacking national resources and political information in China’s neighbouring countries. 


Avast found out that the techniques used by the group are different from previous attacks. This time, they use both keyloggers and backdoors to gain long-term access and upload a variety of tools that they used to scan the Mongolian Government networks and dump credentials.


“The APT group Lucky Mouse has been active since Autumn 2017 and has been able to avoid Avast attention in the last two years due to their evolving techniques and marked change of tactics,” said Luigino Camastra, a Malware Researcher at Avast.


The APT group compromised the Mongolian government in two ways. First, by accessing a vulnerable service provider of the Government to gain entry into government institutions, and secondly, by sending malicious emails with weaponised documents via an unpatched CVE-2017-11882 vulnerability.


We were able to detect their new tactics to discover this campaign targeting the Mongolian government, showing how they’ve scaled their operations to be more advanced to gain longer term access to sensitive data,” added Mr. Camastra.


The finding is corroborated by Slovak security firm ESET, who found that the hackers targeted an add-on that provides instant messaging capability to a human resource management (HRM) platform by Able Software. According to the company’s website, this HRM platform is used by more than 430 Mongolian Government agencies, including the Office of President and the Ministry of Justice, among others.   


Earlier this year, some Chinese-speaking APT threat actors were found to be actively targeting regional inter-governmental organisations in Asia and Africa, found Kaspersky, a Russian multinational security provider. 


In Kaspersky’s report, compromised IT or managed security service providers also appear to be a potential vector of targeted delivery. The majority of the visible activity in the second quarter of 2020 appeared to be in Mongolia, Vietnam and Myanmar. The number of affected systems is estimated to be over thousands. 


It appears that the scope and sophistication of government-targeted cyberattacks are increasing.

APAC most at risk of cyber-espionage attacks

Asia Pacific is more at risk of cyber-espionage attacks than any other region, according to the new Verizon Cyber-Espionage Report (CER).

The report revealed that of all regions, cyber-espionage breaches occurred the most frequently in Asia Pacific at 42%, in front of EMEA at 34% and North America at 23%.

In those breaches, an overwhelming 85% are state-affiliated, followed by 8% of nation-state actors, and 4% of organised crime groups.

As for their motives, these actors seek out data impacting national secrets, political positioning, the need to search for economic competitive advantage, and intellectual property.

Cyber-espionage attacks have been characterised by the CER as low risk, low cost, and high payoff, making them difficult to detect and track down. These breaches typically involve advanced threats targeting specific data and operating in ways to avoid detection and deny cyber-defenders effective response.

For more than half of all cyber-defenders surveyed, it took months and years to discover a breach, and 64% of cyber-defenders said that containment time ranged from hours to weeks.

Industries that are most affected by cyber-espionage breaches are the public sector (31%), manufacturing sector (22%), and professional services sector (11%).

“Cybercrime comes in all shapes and sizes, but fighting and preventing it is of equal importance. Defences and detection and response plans should be tested regularly and optimised to confront cyber threats head-on,” said John Grim, lead author of the Verizon Cyber-Espionage Report.

In view of this, Verizon recommends enterprises to adopt cybersecurity best practices, including regular security awareness training, strengthening boundary defences like network segmentation and access, and managed detection and response.

By Jie Yee Ong, Tech Reporter

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Lumen launches Managed Endpoint Detection and Response (MEDR) for Asia Pacific market

Lumen (formerly known as CenturyLink) has launched its Managed Endpoint Detection and Response (MEDR) service for businesses in Asia Pacific.

The new solution aims to keep organisations secure in a time when smart, connected devices are everywhere and workforces require remote access.

Lumen MEDR uses artificial intelligence to detect and identify threats on devices, including attacks and attempts that may have bypassed measures such as antivirus software and endpoint protection. Once identified, MEDR will launch a remediation in real-time and restore devices back to its original state.

“These endpoints create a larger and more vulnerable attack surface for cybercriminals, and they are highly susceptible to exploits,” said Cheah Wai Kit, the Director of Product Management (Security) at Lumen Asia Pacific.

According to Lumen, research has shown that more than 90% of successful data breaches begin with an attack on users.

“Lumen MEDR provides the first line of defense where it matters most, starting at the endpoints,” added Mr. Cheah.

Lumen MEDR also provides 24/7 customer service support to its clients.

Cybersecurity Collaboration with IDC Secure

Alongside this, Lumen has also announced a collaboration with IT services provider IDC to launch IDC X-Secure, an interactive security assessment tool to offer guidance to businesses on issues concerning digital security.

“As enterprises continue to pursue their digital transformation initiatives, they are starting to realise their limitations in fending off cyberthreats proactively. IDC is seeing a rise in organisations partnering with a managed security services provider to combat the evolving cyberthreat landscape,” said Simon Piff, Vice President of Security Practice at IDC Asia Pacific.

According to IDC’s semi-annual security spending report, investments in security-related products and services in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) will reach US$28.2 billion by 2022, with spending on managed security services accounting for almost half of Asia Pacific’s cybersecurity market by 2023.

“As part of a robust security strategy, businesses need to have the visibility to detect and respond to attacks before they turn into breaches. This eventually reduces the time it takes to investigate, eradicate and contain incidents in their corporate environments,” added Mr. Piff.

IDC X-Secure will offer its expertise on cybersecurity’s global best practices, with peer comparisons and gap analyses to help IT professionals achieve cybersecurity requirements.

“IDC’s X-Secure dives into critical elements of businesses’ security strategy and provides IT leaders with practical scenarios and solutions to mitigate cyber risks,” concluded Mr. Piff.

Security services are also predicted to be the largest and fastest-growing segment with a value of US$6.3 billion, thanks to the rising use of managed services to fend off and respond to cyberattacks.

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Malaysia’s Digi Telecommunications teams up with Boku to protect mobile users against cyberthreats

Malaysia’s Digi Telecommunications has teamed up with UK mobile payments and identity solutions provider Boku to protect users against cyberthreats.

Digi is the first mobile service provider in Malaysia to partner with Boku to launch mobile identity products that proactively protect its customers from cyber-hacks, account takeover attacks, SIM swap attacks, and other forms of digital fraud.

“We have in place stringent policies and procedures to ensure that our customers are safe and secure using any application online, including applying a broad set of data protection practices to safeguard their identities and prevent digital fraud such as account takeover,” said Praveen Rajan, Chief Marketing Officer of Digi.

As more companies continue to realise the necessity of advanced multi-factor authentication solutions in the wake of increased incidences of digital fraud and cyberattacks, there is a growing demand for mobile identity authentication services in Malaysia.

Digital service providers and their users are also increasingly being targeted by fraudsters who seek to extract money or other forms of stored value from accounts.

“This partnership with Boku is another layer of safety enabling our customers to have a seamless and worry-free online experience,” added Mr. Rajan.

Digi will integrate two of Boku’s services into its mobile number operations. The Phone Number Verification (Authenticate) service will request the user to verify their phone number directly on the device via its built-in wireless network connectivity. 

Next, the Reassigned Number (Detect) service will allow a merchant to check if a mobile number has been reassigned or recycled by the telecom service provider to another user.

Commenting on the partnership, Stuart Neal, Chief Business Officer for Identity at Boku, said: “We are honoured to partner with Digi to introduce a safer and more seamless digital world for mobile users in Malaysia. Extending our capabilities into Malaysia is a major milestone as we continue to expand globally.”

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Acronis to launch mass global expansion with 100 micro data centers

Global cybersecurity service provider Acronis announced plans for a global expansion of its network of cloud data centers, adding 100 micro data centers to regions including Singapore, Australia, Switzerland, France, Germany, the UK, and the US.

New state-of-the-art facilities will also be set up in Canada, New Zealand, and Bhutan.

“The rise of edge computing around the world means more data is now created and used away from company networks. Micro data centers enable the efficient deployment of edge computing, particularly in emerging markets,” said Serguei ‘SB’ Beloussov, Founder and CEO of Acronis.

The new data centers will provide users with access to Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud, the company’s flagship cybersecurity solution that integrates backup, disaster recovery, next-generation anti-malware, and endpoint management tools all under one service package.

“As part of Acronis’ Global-Local Strategy, this expansion allows us to provide the local, cost-efficient, bandwidth efficient, and low latency cloud services our global partners demand,” Mr. Beloussov added.

All of Acronis solutions are designed to address the Five Vectors of Cyber Protection, ensuring the safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security of an organisation’s data, applications, and systems.

“Organisations across the globe rely on data in a way they never have before, which means they need IT providers to be ready with effective, affordable solutions,” said Martin Robson, President and CEO of Robson Communications.

In early October, Acronis also announced the establishment of a new data center in Vancouver, Canada.

“The expansion of [Acronis’] data center network will help a lot more service providers around the world keep their clients productive and protected,” added Mr. Robson.

All Acronis data centers are said to meet the highest standards of digital and physical security, and feature redundant power and environmental controls to ensure constant 99.9% monthly availability.

“While reliance on cloud-based access to production data and controls has been increasing during the past several years, the pandemic accelerated its adoption worldwide among organizations,” said Phil Goodwin, Research Director at market research firm IDC.

Gartner has forecast the worldwide market for cloud management and security services will grow by more than 25% in the next two years.

“Developing a larger network of cloud data centers, especially in emerging markets, enables Acronis to cultivate new partners and customers who are actively seeking cloud-based data protection and security platforms and solutions,” added Mr. Goodwin.

Technavio also projected the global edge data center market will progress at a CAGR of almost 14% by 2024.

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Netskope welcomes cybersecurity experts to the team amid Asia Pacific expansion

Netskope, a leading security cloud provider, announced their expansion into Queensland and Northern Territory regions of Australia under the leadership of Michael Kontos, their new Regional Sales Manager.

As part of this expansion, Netskope has opened an office on Queen Street in the Brisbane central business district, where they will offer training and professional accreditation for partners and end-users.

“Michael is joining at a perfect time when we are seeing unprecedented demand for the Netskope Security Cloud platform across the region,” said Tony Burnside, Vice President for Asia Pacific at Netskope.

Mr. Kontos has ten years of experience in the industry, most recently with F5 Networks, where he served as Territory Account Manager for two years and Riverbed Technology prior to that. This appointment follows the recent addition of David Fairman, former CSO of National Australia Bank, as the newest member of Netskope’s CSO team.

“Enterprises throughout the Queensland and Northern Territory regions are benefiting from digital transformation and finding that this has precipitated a massive need to adapt their security programs,” said Mr. Kontos.

Three more team members have also been added to Netskope, including Richard Batchelar, coming from Datacom with more than 25 years of experience in the cybersecurity industry, and Shaun Chaney, coming from The Instillery with seven years of experience, joining as account team members in New Zealand.

Additionally, Michael Coleman joins from FireEye with over years of experience in the cybersecurity industry, as a channel manager in Sydney. And Brett Smith, coming from F5 Networks with more than 20 years of experience in the IT sector, joins the Solutions Architect team in Brisbane.

Recently, Netskope revealed more expansion plans into Asia Pacific, with three new data centers in India. The latest data centers will extend the private cloud security network into Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai to meet unprecedented demand in the country.

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Philippine Air Force joins hands with Smart Communications to counter cyberthreats

Over the past month, the Philippines has been making international news for its involvement in cybercrime. In light of this, the Philippine Air Force announced that it will seek the expertise of Smart Communications to train its officers in handling cybersecurity threats.

A subsidiary of Philippines’ largest conglomerate PDLT Group, Smart Communications will provide professional cyber literacy training to twenty Philippine Air Force officers. The partnership will see the launch of the country’s first Online Cybersecurity Executive Course.

“Over the years, the PLDT Group has been investing in improving its cybersecurity capabilities to make sure we are able to combat cyberthreats. Today’s ‘cyber warriors’ do not sleep, because their enemies are always awake,” said Angel T. Redoble, PLDT’s Chief Information Security Officer.

PLDT Group has also signed an agreement with PAF. The company’s Cyber Security Operations Group (CSOG), will deploy its services to assist the military in enhancing their military service’s cyber operations and upgrade their digital infrastructure security.

Local university, Asian Institute of Management’s (AIM) School of Education and Lifelong Learning will also be working with Smart Telecommunications and PAF.

“The partnership is timely to make organisations protect its technology-based innovations since, according to research, potential economic loss due to cybersecurity incidents in the Philippines can reach as much as US$3.5 billion,” added Dr. Jikyeong Kang, President and Dean of AIM.

The course will discuss cybersecurity challenges via three dimensions: leadership, management, and technology. C-suites, managers, leaders, and executives will be taught to address cybersecurity challenges on both the operational and policy levels.

“I enjoin all organisations in the country to look at cybersecurity as an integral component of their growth and survival strategy,” added Dr. Kang.

The Online Cybersecurity Executive Course begins in October 2020, and will be conducted for ten half-days over Zoom.

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Rapid cloud adoption fuels 100% data center workload revenue growth in Asia Pacific and Japan for Druva

Druva, a leading cloud data protection and management company, announced its data center workload revenue has grown more than 100% in the last twelve months.

Based in California, Druva’s impressive growth can be attributed to its providing support to over 135 enterprises in Asia Pacific and Japan. This includes helping Adani Wilmar in India, Gold Peak in Hong Kong, and NTT Data and UNIADEX in Japan navigate their digital transformation.

“As businesses in Asia Pacific and Japan adopt remote operating models, there is an urgency to adopt new technologies, maintain business continuity and secure organisational and dispersed workforce data,” said Pete Yamasaki, Druva’s Regional Vice President for Asia Pacific and Japan.

It is no surprise by now that businesses are turning to cloud computing to reimagine their operations, especially in the trying times in the pandemic-hit world. And that’s not the only trend, as governments across the world are enforcing data protection regulations with greater stringency to ensure their citizens’ most sensitive details are safe and secure, even on the cloud.

“Regardless of the industry, sector or legacy, companies are turning to the cloud for the scale and technology it has to offer,” added Mr. Yamasaki.

Druva identified more than 700 businesses in Asia Pacific looking to ‘break free from the shackles of the data center and embrace a cloud-first approach for rising data protection needs’, as they ‘move away from investment-heavy and legacy approaches to data protection’.

“Druva’s powerful platform has enabled the region’s expanding businesses to protect data where it is being created – in the cloud – from anywhere with on-demand scalability, robust compliance capabilities and industry-leading security standards,” said Mr. Yamasaki.

To further accelerate Druva’s growth in the region, the company is also expanding its partner program, Druva Compass, to continue to empower digital transformation through enhanced training.

“Customers are increasingly drawn to the public cloud infrastructure as they embark on their digital transformation journey,” said Nathan Lowe, the Managing Director ASI Solutions, a Druva Compass certified partner in Australia.

In the unprecedented COVID-19 situation, Druva’s partners will be critical for the successful deployment of their technology for reliant customers looking to take the digital transformation leap.

“With Druva’s service-oriented model, we can easily add new data sources and make decisions based on our business objectives rather than the restrictions of our legacy backup solution,” said Wai Chung, IT backup administrator for AmorePacific in Hong Kong.

As businesses in Asia Pacific and Japan are managing far more data than two years ago and are being pushed to adopt remote working models under the COVID-19 pandemic, cloud data protection is fast becoming a significant concern to prevent the rising number of threat actors from accessing their data. 

A mid-year report by market intelligence firm IDC projected revenue from cloud systems and services in Asia Pacific to outpace both the Americas and the EMEA region by 2024. Druva Inc.’s latest revenue number serves as strong evidence on the region’s growth potential.

The success of platforms such as Druva once again highlight the importance that businesses place on data protection. Compared to traditional hardware architectures, companies now want security and scalability in the same way that it is being created, on the cloud.

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Discover Japan’s exciting cloud and data center markets

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Criminals exploit on-premise and cloud servers using cryptocurrency mining software

Your on-premise and cloud servers could be compromised by criminals using cryptocurrency mining software.

While your servers are sitting idle, criminals may be monetising your assets whilst plotting larger money-making schemes like extracting valuable data, selling server access for further abuse or preparing dangerous ransomware attacks.

“The cybercriminal underground boasts a sophisticated range of infrastructure offerings to support monetisation campaigns of all types,” said Bob McArdle, Director of Forward-Looking Threat Research for Trend Micro.

Criminals use several methods to gain access to servers, including the exploitation of vulnerabilities in server software, brute-force attacks, stealing logins and deploying malware through phishing attacks. 

These compromised assets are then sold on online portals, the dark web, social media marketplaces and underground forums.

“A good rule of thumb is that whatever is most exposed is most likely to be exploited,” added Mr. McArdle.

As rising adoption of cloud computing continues, businesses should be aware that cloud servers are particularly vulnerable to being attacked by criminals, as they may be lacking sophisticated protection when compared to on-premise equivalents.

A recent report by Trend Micro suggested that, while cryptomining may be innocuous in causing disruption, if you find cryptocurrency mining activity on your servers, this should place your IT security teams on red alert. These servers should then be flagged for immediate remediation and investigation.

Criminals also target websites and content management systems hosted on servers that often run outdated software. Cybercriminals can use covert and difficult-to-detect methods to exploit compromised websites by placing content on a webpage or reselling websites to be used as landing pages for phishing attacks.

Billions of threats blocked during the COVID-19 pandemic

From the start of 2020, cybercriminals shifted their attention to taking advantage of the uncertainty, public fear and unfamiliar remote working environment for many.

In just six months, Trend Micro, a leader in cloud security, blocked a total of 27.8 billion cyber threats, with 8.8 million being COVID-19 pandemic-related and 92% originating from spam and phishing campaigns via email.

“The pandemic has dominated all of our lives during the first half of 2020, but it’s not slowing down the cybercriminals,” said Goh Chee Hoh, the Managing Director for Trend Micro Malaysia and Nascent Countries.

In Malaysia alone, almost 118 million email threats and 2.5 million malware attacks were detected. Amongst these threats, ransomware was a constant factor, as Trend Micro saw a 36% increase in the number of ransomware families compared to 2019.

“IT leaders must continue to adapt their cybersecurity strategies to account for increased threats to their new normal,” suggested Mr. Goh.

To strengthen your cybersecurity strategies in a world of increased remote working, rapid adoption of cloud computing and looming new threats, IT security teams should protect remote endpoints, cloud systems, user credentials and VPN systems.

Humans are often considered the weakest link of cybersecurity chains, so Mr. Goh also recommends refreshing training courses that turn newly dispersed workforces into effective first lines of defence.

Malaysia has started to show signs of improvement in the war against cybercriminals, as startups, homegrown talent and the Government have begun implementing new initiatives and solutions to battle the threats.

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What is the weak link in your cybersecurity strategy?

Southeast Asia is becoming a prime target for cybercriminals, with rapidly growing digitalisation and interconnectivity in the region.

But who or what is the weakest link in your cybersecurity chain making your business vulnerable to cyber attacks?

Register now to find out how you can protect your business and data from the growing threat of cybercriminals on Thursday 24 September.

Get involved in the conversation and connect with your peers on LinkedIn and Facebook using #WMediaEvent!

> View all W.Media digital events

Netskope NewEdge expands cloud security offering in India with three new data centers

Netskope, a leading cloud security provider, announced the expansion of their NewEdge network in India with three new data centers.

The latest data centers will extend the private cloud security network into Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai to meet unprecedented demand in the country.

Cloud security providers without diverse, in-region coverage will often require users to traverse thousands of miles, incurring a significant latency tax, to reach the next closest data center, which can make services delivered outside of India unusable,” said Joe DePalo, the Senior VP of Platform Engineering at Netskope.

The new data centers will translate into improved performance for Netskope services, low single-digit millisecond latency and greater uptake from local and multinational firms in India – one of the largest markets in terms of users and traffic handled by NewEdge.

“Having multiple data centers in India is a key NewEdge differentiator,” added Mr. DePalo.

‘The public Internet is at breaking point’

As more and more organisations rapidly adopt digital transformation strategies, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, more pressure is put on the public Internet, pushing it to breaking point, according to Netskope.

The strain on public internet is intensified by user demand for high-performance and fast applications as well as enterprises’ need for enhanced security.

Legacy security tools are said to be unprepared for rising demands and produce delays in accessing critical services, impacting user experience and productivity. This is why Gartner predicts that security architectures will shift towards Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), as the enterprise data center is no longer a center of access requirements since more services are moving to the cloud.

Private cloud solutions could be the answer to this, as connectivity issues can be solved by using resilient global architecture that is peered with major providers.

As a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fortune 200 SYNNEX Corporation, Concentrix uses private cloud security solutions to accelerate digital transformation for their clients while securely managing the data, as their staff is spread across 40 countries in six continents.

“Netskope NewEdge expansion into Chennai, Delhi, and Mumbai strengthens its commitment to secure their customers’ data and provide integral cybersecurity solutions with global consistency driven by local intimacy,” said Rishi Rajpal, the Vice President of Global Security at Concentrix.

The securing of data in India is also becoming increasingly important, as the Government continues to enforce data localisation laws, requiring customer data to be held in the country.

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What does the future hold for India’s data center market?

The need for data centers in India is growing exponentially, as data consumption by half a billion digital users is reaching unprecedented levels.

But how can you tap into this exciting market? And what is the best practice for data center operators and cloud service providers in the country?

Stay tuned for more fascinating webinars taking a deep dive into the data center and cloud markets in India!

Get involved in the conversation and connect with your peers on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter using #WMediaEvent!

> View all W.Media digital events

PLDT and Philippine Air Force team up to train ‘cyber warriors’ against security threats

PLDT, a major telecommunications company in the Philippines, has signed an agreement with the Philippine Air Force to provide cybersecurity training for their ‘cyber warriors’.

Along with subsidiaries, ePLDT and Smart Communications, PLDT Group will enhance the military service’s cyber operations by upgrading the security of their digital infrastructures using ePLDT’s Security Operation Center, which provides the Philippine Air Force with their own dashboard to monitor cybersecurity operations.

“We are one with the government in ensuring that our country is safe from cyber threats,” said Manuel V. Pangilinan, PLDT chair and CEO.

The training will take place through lectures and hands-on management and operation sessions, working side-by-side with PLDT’s cybersecurity team.

This agreement is the latest in a line of efforts by PLDT to improve the country’s cybersecurity following the launch of a Cybersecurity Council chaired by Mr. Pangilinan to protect enterprises in the infrastructure and telecommunications space from the rising tide of cyber threats.

A first by a Philippine conglomerate, the Council complies with the Data Privacy Act and Cybercrime Prevention Act in the Philippines, requiring companies to safeguard customer data.

The Council is composed of representatives from Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation, Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings, Maynilad Water Services, Manila Electric, Philex Mining, Makati Medical Center, MediaQuest Holdings, Metropac Movers, PLDT Global, MVP Rewards and Keralty Philippines.

PLDT and Smart Communications also became involved in the Asian Institute of Management’s Cybersecurity Executive Course to help organisations manage cyber threats and build cyber-resilient infrastructures.

Securing smooth work-from-home arrangements during the pandemic

This week, PLDT’s information and communications technology arm, ePLDT, introduced a new cloud service to provide a simplified and secure platform to remotely manage desktops and cloud applications during work-from-home arrangements.

The Virtual Desktop solution aims to provide employees with secure access to corporate data and applications authorised by the company.

“Our aim at ePLDT is to help businesses accelerate their digital transformation, especially today as they navigate through the pandemic,” said Jovy Hernandez, the President and CEO of ePLDT.

The Virtual Desktop uses Microsoft Azure to deliver the security and simplified management promised by the cloud service.

“Our focus throughout this unprecedented time has been on making sure our customers, partners and communities around the world remain connected, productive and secure,” said Andres Ortola, the Country General Manager of Microsoft Philippines.

ePLDT has currently deployed 1,000 units of their Virtual Desktop solution within the PLDT group to allow a smooth and secure work-from-home arrangement.

What is the weak link in your cybersecurity strategy?

Southeast Asia is becoming a prime target for cybercriminals, with rapidly growing digitalisation and interconnectivity in the region.

But who or what is the weakest link in your cybersecurity chain making your business vulnerable to cyber attacks?

Register now to find out how you can protect your business and data from the growing threat of cybercriminals on Thursday 24 September.

Get involved in the conversation and connect with your peers on LinkedIn and Facebook using #WMediaEvent!

Trend Micro strengthens data sovereignty for Asia Pacific customers with first regional data lake in Singapore

Trend Micro has selected Singapore as the site for its first regional data lake, bringing its XDR suite to Asia Pacific and strengthening data sovereignty for its customers in Asia.

Driven by the demand for a data lake, Trend Micro selected Singapore due to its hub status for businesses across Asia Pacific as well as its strong data protection laws.

The data lake, which stores activity data across individual security tools in an organisation, began operations at the start of August.

“There has been tremendous demand from our customers in the region for XDR capabilities since last year. Now they will be able to have the full XDR experience,” said Dhanya Thakkar, Trend Micro’s Senior Vice President for Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa.

With security operations center (SOC) teams up against increasingly sophisticated threats, the XDR solution is said to go beyond endpoint detection and response (EDR) by acting like a black box to record and analyse data from emails, endpoints, servers, cloud workloads and networks in an organisation.

Mr. Thakkar said: “EDR is only one piece of the whole detection and response puzzle. It’s great but it has limited reach, as it only collects data on the endpoints. To have integrated visibility across multiple security vectors is a top-priority item on any SOC’s to-do list.”

The cloud security provider’s XDR solution is purported to address operational nightmares faced by SOC teams, including alert fatigue by automatically combing through noisy cybersecurity alerts identifying potential attacks, contextually visualising alerts to show different stages of attacks, and centralising normalised data to improve efficiency.

“XDR gives us an additional dimension in threat detection. It allows for faster correlation of endpoint events to related services, such as network and email, to help us quickly identify entry points and the spread of infection visually,” said Ian Loe, the Senior Vice President for Cybersecurity, Infrastructure & Performance Architecture at NTUC Enterprise Co-operative Limited.

In their announcement of the first regional data lake in Singapore, Trend Micro also revealed plans for a second data lake to be up and running in Sydney, Australia in October.

What is the weak link in your cybersecurity strategy?

Southeast Asia is becoming a prime target for cybercriminals, with rapidly growing digitalisation and interconnectivity in the region.

But who or what is the weakest link in your cybersecurity chain making your business vulnerable to cyber attacks?

Register now to find out how you can protect your business and data from the growing threat of cybercriminals on Thursday 3 September.

Get involved in the conversation and connect with your peers on LinkedIn and Facebook using #WMediaEvent!

Veeam celebrates biggest second quarter revenue in company history

Veeam Software has announced their biggest second quarter revenue in company history with an annual increase of 20% year-over-year.

As a leader in backup solutions for Cloud Data Management, Veeam saw increased demand for their products due to growing remote work environments intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As employees are transitioning to the new ‘work from home’ environment, data protection and availability are now more important than ever,” said Bill Largent, the CEO at Veeam.

Veeam also reported its largest ever quarter in it’s 14-year history for bookings for their Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365, with an 89% year-on-year increase and 75% gain in subscription bookings.

“Just as employers must protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees, they must also have solid business continuity plans in place and protect the most important asset of their organization – their data,” added Mr. Largent.

Veeam also saw strong double-digit regional growth in Asia by serving customers like Fuji Electric in Japan, Trust Power in New Zealand, and Hero MotoCorp in India.

“We continue to execute well on our plan for explosive growth in APJ, and we are backing that up with hiring across all functions to support our customers and partners,” said Shaun McLagan, the Senior Vice President for Asia Pacific and Japan at Veeam.

Veeam’s new hires include Mr. Beni Sia, Vice President for Southeast Asia and Korea as well as Ms. Habisanti H., the Country Manager for Indonesia.

“This investment has seen an accelerated uptake of more than 3,200 certifications issued in Q2,” added Mr. McLagan.

With Veeam’s multi-year revenue gains, they have increased their market share to become the third largest provider of backup and recovery software.

The need for comprehensive data backup services is rapidly increasing, with COVID-19 causing one of the largest security threats the world has seen, as more and more employees are forced to work from home.

“Keeping life-saving information available to residents is a top priority during a pandemic. Downtime isn’t acceptable in today’s world, and certainly not during COVID-19. This is when cities must have complete faith in their data protection strategy,” said Daryl Polk, the Chief Innovation Officer at City of Rancho Cucamonga in California.

Veeam recently achieved their biggest ever product launch of their Veeam Availability Suite v10, which provides data management and protection for hybrid cloud environments.

“Both announcements were major game-changing milestones for Veeam and the tech industry,” said Danny Allan, CTO and Senior Vice President of Product Strategy at Veeam,”

The backup solutions provider for Cloud Data Management also kicked off the year with their acquisition by Insight Partners, which was valued at US$5 billion.

Image credit

What is the weak link in your cybersecurity strategy?

Southeast Asia is becoming a prime target for cybercriminals, with rapidly growing digitalisation and interconnectivity in the region.

But who or what is the weakest link in your cybersecurity chain making your business vulnerable to cyber attacks?

Register now to find out how you can protect your business and data from the growing threat of cybercriminals on Thursday 3 September.

Get involved in conversation and connect with your peers on LinkedIn and Facebook using #WMediaEvent!

Palo Alto Networks unveils new Singapore cloud location

Palo Alto Networks, a global cybersecurity leader, has unveiled a new cloud location in Singapore.

The new launch will give organisations based in Singapore and the wider Asia Pacific and Japan region high-performance access to their cybersecurity solutions.

“The current economic climate has accelerated organisations’ shift to the cloud,” said Simon Green, the president of Japan and Asia Pacific for Palo Alto Networks.

The cybersecurity giant has identified a large customer base in Asia Pacific and Japan who are looking for a comprehensive security platform to protect their cloud workloads. This is particularly important, as cyberthreats are increasing, especially during the pandemic.

The new cloud location in Singapore will provide access to Palo Alto Networks Prisma Cloud, Cortex XDR and Cortex™ Data Lake as well as the readily available WildFire Cloud, which was launched in 2017.

“Prisma and Cortex, which are cloud-hosted, address this need by providing unparalleled visibility and all-encompassing threat protection for customers who migrate workloads to the cloud,” added Mr. Green.

The cybersecurity solutions will allow users to store their data locally in Singapore to abide by data residency requirements. Palo Alto Networks saw the need to introduce this new cloud location to address data sovereignty and privacy demands in Singapore.

“The new cloud location will support the Singapore Government’s stated cloud strategy to host most of its IT solutions on commercial clouds,” Mr. Green said.

Palo Alto Networks also chose Singapore not only because they have their regional headquarters there, but the country has a mature cloud market and reliable IT infrastructure compared to the rest of the region, as seen in the recent Asia Cloud Computing Association Cloud Readiness Index.

Legacy data protection technology is severely hindering digital transformation say global enterprise CXOs

Almost half of global organisations are being hindered in their digital transformation journeys by legacy data protection technology and IT skills shortages.

The latest industry data in the Veeam 2020 Data protection Trends Report revealed that 40% of organisations rely on legacy systems to protect their data, with 95% of enterprises suffering unexpected outages lasting almost two hours on average.

“Legacy solutions were intended to protect data in physical data centers in the past, but they’re so outdated and complex that they cost more money, time, resources and trouble than realized,” said Danny Allan, the CTO and SVP of Product Strategy at Veeam.

Downtime and outages can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, pointing to an urgent need to modernise systems including data protection and move to focus on business continuity to enable digital transformation.

Mr Allan added: “It’s great to see the global drive to embrace technology to deliver a richer user experience, however the Achilles’ Heel still seems to be how to protect and manage data across the hybrid cloud.”

The appetite for digital transformation certainly exists at the top of most CXOs agendas, as spending is expected to hit US$7.4 trillion between 2020 and 2023. Respondents in the study also reported that data delivered through IT has become the heart and soul of their business.

But Veeam believes leaders must move data protection beyond outdated legacy systems for real digital transformation to happen.

“Data protection is more important than ever now to help organizations continue to meet their operational IT demands while also aspiring towards DX and IT modernization,” said Mr Allan.

Data is often spread across data centers and cloud through file shares, shared storage and Software-as-a-Service platforms like Google Cloud, AWS, Alibaba Cloud and more.

Mr Allan believed that legacy tools designed to back up on-premise file shares and applications can’t succeed in the hybrid or multi-cloud world, as they cost companies time and money while putting data at risk.

The report by Veeam also discovered half of businesses recognise that cloud has a pivotal part to play in today’s data protection strategy. The Cloud Data Management provider argued that a company needs a comprehensive solution that supports cloud, virtual and physical data management for any application and any data across any cloud in order to achieve a truly modernised data protection plan.

What is the data protection situation like in Asia Pacific?

In Asia Pacific and Japan, the research by the backup solutions provider found that 22% of organisations did not back up their data, which is higher than the global average of 14%.

“Many CIOs are increasing their data protection efforts, but the reality is that systems can easily fall prey to unplanned outages. When this happens, organisations scramble to put their systems back online,” said Shaun McLagan, the Senior Vice President for Asia Pacific and Japan at Veeam.

One in ten organisations also report an “availability gap” between how fast they can recover applications compared to how fast they actually need to recover them, and 90% have a “protection gap” between how frequently they back up their data versus how much data they can afford to lose after an outage.

Mr McLagan added: “To solve this, organisations should modernize their data protection solutions, which goes far beyond backup.”

Businesses are advised to prevent security breaches and ransomware attacks by having offsite and offline backups as well as adequate training for staff, particularly as cybersecurity threats continue to grow.

To prevent attacks, local governments should also advocate for legislation that ensures a strong culture of security like Malaysia’s National Cyber Security Policy.

Ben Chua, a young cybersecurity pioneer in Singapore, said during W.Media’s first Power Talk: “The only way we can do security well is to educate every single citizen of the nation where the whole nation becomes digitally resilient together.”

According to Veeam, ransomware and cyberthreats is the number one challenge faced by organisations, costing an average of US$80,000 to restore data.

The Veeam 2020 Data Protection Trends Report surveyed more than 1,500 global enterprises to understand their approach toward data protection and management. They were surveyed on how they expect to be prepared for the IT challenges they face, including reacting to demand changes and interruptions in service as well as more aspirational goals of IT modernization and digital transformation.

> Rewatch our digital event on Digital Transformation Through the Lens of CXOs

New security system using AI and cloud technology looks to reduce car theft and greenhouse gas emissions in Thailand

Frasers Property Thailand has launched a new innovative security system that uses artificial intelligence and cloud databases in the hopes of reducing car theft and greenhouse gas emissions.

The project known as Dashway equips CCTV cameras with the ability to recognise license plates, predict traffic density and calculate exhaust emissions in real-time.

These enhanced security abilities to keep Thailand safe from premise intrusions and parking violations are powered by machine learning embedded in cloud databases.

Dashway’s data visualisation displays information on traffic density and exhaust emissions.

Display license plate recognition information and classification of cars enter-exit

Yan Khek Wee, the EVP of Investment Property for Frasers Property Thailand, said: “Dashway helps to reduce our operation costs and also provides a seamless experience to our customers.”

The project will be deployed for the first time at Frasers Property Logistics Park to solve the problem of manually handling site security of the facility that accommodates more than 2,000 vehicles per day.

Dashway will provide a non-intrusive experience for customers by deploying Automatic License Plate Recognition technology connected to barrier gates, allowing authorised personnel into the park and reducing traffic congestion.

The project’s Automatic Intruder Detection technology captures 360-degree movement

Geo-fencing technology (GFA)

The cloud database will store information on the types of vehicles to enable predictive analysis and even a future use for targeted advertising.

The project provides real-time notifications to security teams and visualisations of the data to help keep Thailand safe from car theft and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

This article is produced in partnership with TCC Tech.

Interview: A young cybersecurity pioneer’s dream for a safer Singapore

At the age of 18, a young cybersecurity pioneer named Ben Chua established Cyber Youth Singapore in 2019 and became its CEO with the dream of creating a safer Singapore.

Cyber Youth Singapore serves to empower and educate younger generations as well as exchange knowledge through cybersecurity events and competitions.

He said: “Cybersecurity is so important that it should be as simple as teaching a child how to cross the road safely. It’s as essential as that; to use that phone they have in their hands safely.”

The non-profit is a collective of youths who will be the IT professionals of the future, striving to advance the country’s cyber resilience and pave a future for youths looking to break into the industry.

Mr Chua shared his dream with over 370 experts and peers in the technology industry during W.Media’s first Power Talk: “The big dream is to have at least one cyber defender in every household to ensure that their family is safe.”

What inspired the dream for a safer Singapore?

The need for Cyber Youth Singapore to educate Singaporeans on cybersecurity came after seeing technology and smart devices become so prevalent in most households.

Mr Chua said: “Almost every household in Singapore has internet connectivity. It’s a digital door into every household in Singapore and that’s actually a cause for concern for us because there’s no definite way we can defend against that perfectly.”

This need for an education in cybersecurity is increasing during the pandemic, as the current situation is forcing more businesses and households to digitise. This has enabled threat actors to take advantage of vulnerabilities like those in Virtual Private Networks and video-conferencing tools like Zoom.

Mr Chua added: “This virtual backdoor for hackers will be almost everywhere. The only way we can do security well is to educate every single citizen of the nation where the whole nation becomes digitally resilient together.”

How did you get involved in cybersecurity?

The story of how Ben came to be a young leader in cybersecurity is one of proactivity and aspiration.

When he first pursued cybersecurity, Ben did not have much background in technology, but he was inspired by an outreach talk at his secondary school.

Mr Chua said: “I made the right decision and I never looked back since.”

How can younger generations break into the cybersecurity industry?

The cybersecurity industry is growing rapidly and there is likely to be no shortage of jobs.

Mr Chua reassured his peers with an inspiring message that breaking into the industry isn’t too difficult as long as you never give up despite any challenges and rejections.

He added: “We faced many rejections and people didn’t take us seriously because we are a bunch of youths. It’s really the perseverance and strength of us banding together that made everything work”

Since founding Cyber Youth Singapore, it has gone on to be backed by the National Youth Council and Cybersecurity Agency of Singapore.

How can we help younger generations succeed in cybersecurity?

When Cyber Youth Singapore first began, the young pioneers went to other corporations, agencies and individuals to rally support.

Ben appealed to established generations in cybersecurity to serve as mentors and give direction to the teenagers who want to be a cyber defendant of the future. 

The CEO of Cyber Youth Singapore added: “I would also appeal to older generations to keep an open mind to give us a chance to show you what we can do. That opportunity goes a long way.”

Ben is working right now on educating secondary school students by giving outreach talks on cyber awareness and going beyond career guidance to show what cybersecurity can really offer.

Mr Chua said: “With how prevalent technology is today, cybersecurity education is something all children in the world should be entitled to.”

Cyber Youth Singapore has almost 400 members and hopes to reach 10,000 by 2021.

Mr Chua said: “When I look back at what we have accomplished I feel very humbled by what we have accomplished so far.”

Ben’s journey and bright future has only just begun. He will certainly be a leader to watch on the global stage as the cybersecurity industry continues to grow.

Check Point uncovers cyber espionage operation targeting governments in Asia Pacific

Cybersecurity specialists at Check Point have uncovered an ongoing cyber espionage operation targeting several government bodies in Asia Pacific.

The Advanced Persistent Threat group known as Naikon used a new backdoor attack named Aria-body. This allowed hackers, who are believed to be based in China, to bypass security measures and gain remote access to a victims’ network.

The APT group targeted Southeast Asian government ministries in Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand to spy on them, gain sensitive geo-political information and exploit diplomatic relations between departments.

The Manager of Threat Intelligence at Check Point, Lotem Finkelstein, said: “Naikon attempted to attack one of our customers by impersonating a foreign government.”

Check Point’s investigation of the cyber espionage operation began when they found a malicious email was sent from a government diplomat, thought to be from the Indonesian embassy in Canberra, to the government of Western Australia

When this email was opened, the victim’s device downloads Aria-body from servers used by Naikon.

Naikon was able to evade detection by impersonating government officials in emails using victims’ servers as command and control centers to launch new attacks. Researchers found one server belonged to the Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology.

Naikon was thought to have gone silent since ThreatConnect and Defense Group exposed them in 2015, until Check Point discovered they have been active for the past five years and even accelerated their activities this year.

In the past, Naikon was known as one of the most active APTs in Asia, attacking attacking civil and military organisations around the South China Sea.

Mr Finkelstein said: “We’ve published this research as a warning and resource for any government entity to better spot Naikon’s or other hacker group’s activities.”

This warning is particularly pertinent for governments to heed. Thailand recently approved funding for a Government Data Center and Cloud service, which must have strong cybersecurity protocols to avoid vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers.

To remain secure, government’s should advise staff to check emails carefully, manage user privileges, monitor and analyse logs, and make sure you’re only downloading files from trusted sites.

World’s first complete cyber protection solution released by Singapore unicorn Acronis to fight pandemic cyberthreats

Singapore unicorn and global leader in cybersecurity, Acronis, has released the world’s first complete cyber protection solution.

Acronis Cyber Protect integrates backup, disaster recovery, next-gen anti-malware and more into one AI-powered platform to defend clients against cyberthreats. 

The solution also includes COVID-19 URL filtering and total Zoom security, which is particularly timely with the plague of pandemic-related cybersecurity threats like those affecting Zoom.

Acronis Founder and CEO, Serguei Beloussov, said: “Traditional backup solutions are dead because they are not secure enough, and traditional anti-virus applications do not protect data from modern cyberthreats.”

Acronis hopes this solution will empower managed service providers to make security a focal point of their portfolio by eliminating complexity, improving productivity and cutting costs.

The Singaporean cybersecurity unicorn, which serves 500,000 businesses and 100% of Fortune 1000 companies, believes patchwork vendor solutions decrease security and complicates employee training on numerous different softwares.

Mr Beloussov added: “Service providers need to offer their clients integrated cyber protection that covers all Five Vectors of Cyber Protection – safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security.”

The complete cyber protection solution achieved a perfect score of 100% detection rate after scanning 6,932 malicious Windows executable files. But if a threat does slip through the security measures, Acronis Cyber Protect provides business continuity to help restore data and recover systems effectively.

Phil Goodwin, Research Director, Infrastructure Systems, Platforms and Technologies Group at IDC, said: “Acronis is among the companies on the forefront for integrated data protection and cyber protection.”

AV-Test, the German security institute known for rigorously resting malware security solutions, found that Acronis Cyber Protect delivered a perfect result in the lab’s false-positive test, causing zero false positives.

Mr Goodwin added: “We believe that Acronis Cyber Protect is among the most comprehensive attempts to provide data protection and cybersecurity to date.”

A personal version of the complete cybersecurity solution is planned for a Q3 2020 release.

The cybersecurity unicorn has done Singapore proud after being founded in 2003 and growing into a global cyber protection leader with more than 1,500 employees in 33 locations across 18 countries.

W.Media Power Talk: Finding optimism and inspiration during the pandemic

More than 370 technology experts and enthusiasts came together for our first Power Talk, sponsored by Keppel Data Centres, to explore the state of our industry and the digital economy in these challenging times.

We kicked off Inside Asia – Technology & Market Next Moveswith a pre-show interview from young cybersecurity pioneer Ben Chua that was both empowering and gave hope for a bright post-pandemic future.

Mr Chua, the CEO of Cyber Youth Singapore, gave some advice to his younger peers looking to break into the industry: “The key thing is to never give up. When we first started Cyber Youth Singapore, we faced many rejections and people didn’t take us seriously. It’s really the perseverance and strength of us banding together that made everything work.”

Mr Chua added established generations in cybersecurity can help by mentoring and keeping an open mind by giving youths a chance.

In attendance, Rendy Rinaldy, Data Center and Client Administrator at Alfamart, said: “Ben Chua, you give us inspiration that cybersecurity is important.”

A new hope: The digital economy and tech spending post-pandemic

Amongst the negative news surrounding the pandemic, our first panel session, led by DC1st’s Ka Vin Wong, gave us an optimistic outlook for the digital economy’s future.

The Co-founder and COO of Princeton Digital Group, Varoon Raghavan, said it was business as usual, despite the pandemic.

Mr Raghavan discussed a positive view on the data center industry: “ There is extremely high demand that’s not related to the pandemic, that’s just the way that the business is.”

With surges in internet usage from more remote working and data center operators considered essential workers throughout the world, the necessity for data centers is becoming even clearer.

Mr Raghavan added: “We are doing all we can to keep up with that demand to ensure that the digital economy goes on and gives people some diversion in this difficult time.”

And it’s not just data centers seeing increasing demand. Jason Frisch, the CEO of Tsukaeru Group, is finding that cloud services are reaping the benefits from the work from home situations that many of us are currently in.

Mr Frisch said: “Obviously there’s going to be a big shift to cloud services and I don’t see it going backwards.”

But Mr Frisch warned that costs may start to rise with all the new money flowing around, but this is difficult for providers to do when trying to make a profit margin, particularly for non-hyperscale players.

The rising use of cloud applications like Zoom has also brought concerns of cybercrime to the forefront. 

Cybersecurity expert Anthony Lim said: “All these issues make the end user become more aware of cybersecurity and cyber hygiene requirements … which is good because it heightens the awareness of cybersecurity.”

How 5G, Cloud and Datacenter Outlook have been shaped by recent events

In the second panel session, we explored the current state of the 5G, cloud and data center industries and opportunities for investment.

Our panel agreed there will be a slow down in 5G rollout schedules due to the pandemic. But Sachin Mittal, the Head of Telecom, Media and Technology Research at DBS Bank, believed the outbreak will generate new use cases to further enable remote work in industries such as healthcare where there was originally some hesitancy in adopting 5G.

Importantly, 5G will enable much more data creation from faster surfing speeds and more device connectiving, placing greater pressure on data centers. 

There is no doubt that 5G can enable new revenue streams and open up new business opportunities. The new technology is likely to improve smoother accessibility and efficiency for cloud-based applications with its promise of low or zero latency.

Kok Chye Ong, the Head of Global Strategy and Investments at Keppel Data Centres, said: “We look forward to seeing how 5G will evolve, and how data centres will continue to play a critical role to support network latency and network architecture of this new technology.”

Telcos could see a lack of increased revenue when traffic increases due to the rollout of 5G. But we have seen attempts to monetise existing customer bases in the past with Singtel and Grab teaming up for a digital banking venture.

Ajay Sunder, the Deputy Director of Strategy at SC-Nex, said: “There is a use case for 5G which is not being talked about, which is the private networks.”

Private networks allow for non-carriers of 5G to come into the ecosystem and explore monetizable new use cases, splitting the infrastructure spend between non-traditional carriers like industrial and public safety players.

How will new investments and technologies digitally transform business?

Along with the pandemic forcing the world online, advancing technologies in data centers, cloud services and 5G will open the door for organisations to consider or rejuvenate strategies to digitally transform their business.

Explore how SMEs and C-level staff can successfully implement digital transformation plans and avoid common pitfalls at our next free digital event Digital Transformation – Through the Lens of CXOs and SME Business Owners

Watch this space for more in-depth analysis from ‘Inside Asia – Technology & Market Next Moves’

In the coming weeks, we will take a deeper look at the sessions from our first Power Talk, including answers to your unanswered questions!

Thank you to our sponsors at Keppel Data Centres and our supporting partners across Southeast Asia for helping to make the first Power Talk a huge success. And a big congratulations to Darmadi, the CIO of Toyota Astra Motor, who won our grand prize for asking the best question during the Power Talk.

Watch Inside Asia – Technology & Market Next Moves on demand.

Prepare for a post-pandemic future with W.Media’s first digital Power Talk event

The pandemic has thrown the world into a state of uncertainty, but this is our opportunity to come together and prepare for a future where technology and digital transformation in our professional and personal lives is becoming a necessity.

On 30 April 2020 from 11am SGT at our free Inside Asia – Technology & Market Next Moves digital event you can join industry experts and peers to explore the current and future outlook of 5G, cloud services, data centers and cybersecurity.

Our first Power Talk, proudly sponsored by industry leader Keppel Data Centres, will include two panel sessions that you won’t want to miss.

The first panel will invite you to engage with a discussion on the digital economy and tech spending. Our second panel will focus on the current outlook for 5G, cloud and data centers as well as future investment opportunities.

Close to 500 key executives throughout the world have already registered across telecommunications, OTT, finance, banking and more industry verticals to experience one of the largest technology and market digital talk shows in Asia.

A new hope: The digital economy and tech spending post-pandemic

The Southeast Asian digital economy is booming and tech spending is growing steady. But how could this change now that the pandemic has forced many to work from home, increasing the demand for data centers and cloud services?

In the first panel, we will be joined by experts in the data center, cloud and cybersecurity industries to share their perspectives and answer your questions on the current value of the industry and how we can make our future brighter.

With more than 30 years of experience, the Managing Director of DC1st Wong Ka Vin will be the lead moderator for both sessions. Before DC1st, Ka Vin led a major rebranding process for 1-Net and continued to grow its revenue by expanding their customer base. He also led the development for SEA’s 1st Uptime Tier III DCCF DC in Singapore.

Supporting Ka Vin will be Anthony Lim of Fortinet, a pioneer in the Asia Pacific cloud and cybersecurity space with over 20 years’ experience. Anthony is a trusted voice on cybersecurity and governance matters, appearing on television and news publications multiple times.

Our moderators will put your questions to two key names in the industry. 

Varoon Raghavan, the Co-founder and COO of Asia’s data center giant Princeton Digital Group, will share his experience of more than 15 years in the internet infrastructure industry. 

Jason Frisch, the founder of top cloud services provider Tsukaeru Group, will be there to explain how COVID-19 can be an opportunity for you to invest in long-term strategies.

How 5G, Cloud and Datacenter Outlook have been shaped by recent events

Virtually every industry imaginable has been impacted and forever shaped by the recent coronavirus outbreak, but this doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. 

From increased internet traffic and cloud adoption to demand for greater connectivity, there are opportunities to turn this negative present into a positive future.

For our second panel, we will have three more fantastic speakers to share strategies and bold predictions for the investment outlook of our industry.

The Deputy Director of Strategy for SC-Nex, Ajay Sunder, will provide his extensive investment knowledge on various industries built during more than 13 years across Southeast Asia.

Along with Ajay, we will have Kok Chye Ong, the Head of Global Strategy and Investments from our sponsors at Keppel Data Centres. Kok Chye has helped to grow Keppel Data Centres’ presence in APAC and EMEA as well as expanding into new markets such as Netherlands, Germany and Indonesia.

And sharing his vast expertise on 5G and the impact of digital technologies on banking, retail and telecom sector, we have Sachin Mittal. His achievements include being ranked as the number one telecom analyst in Asia by the Wall Street Journal in 2013.

And joining Ka Vin as supporting moderator will be me, Stuart Crowley, W.Media’s Editor. I am looking forward to welcoming you online to our first Power Talk. It will be exciting to see some fantastic engagement – asking a great question could even win you a $50 Amazon gift card!

You are encouraged to register online as soon as possible. Spaces are limited and going fast. Make sure to secure your place to join industry peers from Southeast Asia, China, Japan, India, Australia, New Zealand, UK and USA.

See you at 11am SGT on 30 April for Inside Asia – Technology & Market Next Moves!

A big thank you to our sponsors at Keppel Data Centres as well as our supporting partners OPEN-TEC, Quang Trung Software City (QTSC), iCIO Community, eBusiness Association of Malaysia (EBAM), APTIKNAS (Asosiasi Pengusaha Teknologi Informasi dan Komunikasi Nasional) and the Asia Cloud Computing Association (ACCA).

Did Zoom do enough to prevent their plague of security breaches?

Zoom’s boom in popularity has left the video-conferencing platform vulnerable to cybercriminals exploiting the fear, uncertainty and rise in remote working driven by the coronavirus outbreak.

The vulnerabilities include user’s data being shared with Facebook and Zoom calls from non-Chinese users ‘mistakenly’ routed through Chinese data centers.

The word ‘Zoombombing’ has even been coined, as conferencing streams are being hijacked by unwelcome guests. 

Reports have surfaced of an online geography lesson in Singapore that was allegedly hacked by two men who shared explicit images. The Ministry of Education has since suspended the use of Zoom for teachers.

Security and privacy concerns over Zoom led organisations like Google, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, the US Senate, the Philippines’ telecom giant PLDT and the Taiwanese Government to ban their workers from using Zoom.

The video-conferencing tool has also been hit with a class action lawsuit by a shareholder who accused Zoom of overstating its security measures and failing to disclose the service was not end-to-end encrypted. The lawsuit came after Zoom’s shares fell by 25% in recent days, despite a huge stock spike of more than 100% since January.

With the plague of security issues facing Zoom, it begs the question of whether Zoom did enough to prevent it.

Zoom’s vulnerabilities identified as early as last year

In June 2019, Check Point disclosed a security flaw where their researchers were able to predict a Zoom Meeting ID with a high chance of success to gain unwanted access to a call. 

While the IT security specialists said Zoom made changes to mitigate the flaw, this is identical to what is now known as “Zoombombing”.

Check Point’s Head of Security Engineering for APAC Gary Gardiner said: “We would never have disclosed vulnerabilities to the wider audience if we didn’t feel that the company, and Zoom in this case, had actually gone through the appropriate checks and balances and made the changes that we would have said they needed to make.”

Zoom is making a number of changes, including upgrading their encryption and hiding meeting IDs.

Mr Gardiner added applications can still be vulnerable during a product’s development. These flaws can be exploited by threat actors particularly when a platform gains popularity very quickly like Zoom during the coronavirus outbreak.

Zoom’s daily usage went from 10 million meeting participants in December 2019 to a massive 200 million in March 2020.

To add another vulnerability to Zoom’s growing list, Mr Gardiner said he is seeing numerous copycat domains posing as the video communications provider. During the past week alone, Check Point witnessed a huge increase of more than 1,700 in domains with the word “Zoom” in the URL.

Zoom is not the only platform exploited by cybercriminals. Mr Gardiner discovered that Office 365 is a prime example of where threat actors are replicating websites which look like the real deal to steal corporate organisations’ credentials. 

He added that cyberattacks on mobile devices are increasing. This is because the URLs are much smaller and applications by organisations like OTT providers are easy to replicate.

As a security professional, Gary said he would like to see organisations like Zoom provide more online education for users to understand how to protect themselves.

How can you stay safe when using Zoom?

To stay safe online, some of the responsibility comes down to the user.

Mr Gardiner said: “From what we have seen with Zoom, there have been some basics that end users haven’t done very well.”

To stay safe when using Zoom and similar platforms, consider the following recommendations:

  1. Password protect your meetings and do not use the same password twice
  2. Use a randomly generated meeting ID provided by Zoom
  3. Lock your meetings once everyone has joined
  4. Only allow authenticated users from the same domain as your own  to join sensitive meetings
  5. Beware of copycat domains – check for spelling errors in the URL

Join in the cybersecurity conversation

The coronavirus outbreak has put into question the present and future state of the cybersecurity industry. With the threat of global attacks rising, the need for a strong cybersecurity plan is more important now more than ever.

Join industry experts for the free W.Media Inside Asia: Technology & Market Next Moves Power Talk on 30th April to explore the impacts of the pandemic on data centers, cloud, 5G, and cybersecurity. And discuss how we can survive and thrive in the post-coronavirus world.

Malaysia wages war on cybercrime

Incidents of cybercrime are rising at an alarming rate in Malaysia and the Southeast Asia region with organisations seeing more cyber attacks in the past year.

Cybercriminals in Malaysia exploiting the fear and uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. CyberSecurity Malaysia identified a spike in cyber attacks during the first phase of the Movement Control Order imposed by the Malaysian Government. 

A total of 20 different coronavirus-related malware was detected in Malaysia by cybersecurity specialists Kaspersky, while Forbes reported that Malaysia is one of the top five countries in the world targeted by cybercriminals during the outbreak.

Before the outbreak, the rate of cyber attacks were still increasing. Microsoft revealed in a 2018 study that Malaysia could suffer a shocking US$12.2 billion in economic loss due to cybercrime.

In February, cybersecurity startup Technisanct discovered more than 35,000 credit cards from a number of banks had been breached in Malaysia and sold on the dark web.

In the future, cybercrime incidents may continue to increase with the advent of 5G technology as well as growing opportunities in the Internet of Things.

Home-grown talent make moves to combat cybercrime

The concerning cybersecurity threats have encouraged many organisations and government bodies to act on tackling the problem of cybercrime in the country.

In an attempt to solve security concerns while many Malaysians are forced to work from home due to the coronavirus outbreak, a tech company in the country has offered a solution. Linkdood launched a Communication Platform designed by cybersecurity experts to enable employees to store files and collaborate securely using private cloud technology.

In March, LGMS, a home-grown cybersecurity company, launched a Cybersecurity Lab with Austrian service provider TÜV Austria. 

The Austrian Ambassador to Malaysia Dr. Michael Postl said: “This partnership has the potential to establish Malaysia as a hub for cybersecurity testing and certification for the Asia Pacific region.”

In the same month, Malaysian data firm Strateq also found success recently when Singaporean telco StarHub announced it will pay up to SG$82 million for an 88% share in the firm. 

StarHub CEO Peter Kaliaropoulos said: “Our existing ICT managed services and cybersecurity capabilities in Singapore and Asia Pacific will be strengthened and diversified following the addition of Strateq to our portfolio.”

Last year, the Government-linked organisation CyberSecurity Malaysia also signed an agreement with Blackberry to protect some of Malaysia’s most important and sensitive data from cybercriminals.

The Malaysian Government joins the battle

While there is no single legislation for cybersecurity in Malaysia, the National Cyber Security Agency is tasked with implementing the National Cyber Security Policy to ensure a strong culture of security and achieve the Government’s Vision 2020 plan.

On Safer Internet Day in February, The Ministry of Education also revealed plans to introduce a National Cyber Security Awareness Module to 300 schools across the country.

During the announcement, Prof Dr Mohamad Fauzan Noordin, Head of Cybersecurity Cluster at the Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation, agreed that cybersecurity laws should be tightened.

Malaysia shows signs of improvement in the war against cybercriminals

A recent study by Cisco found that companies in Malaysia received 3% less cyber alerts in 2019 compared to 2018, which was better than the average in Asia Pacific. The study also reported that breaches costing companies US$1 million or more fell from 50% in 2018 to only 23% in 2019.

But the battle isn’t won yet. Malaysia and the Asia Pacific have a long way to go. The region still receives more alerts on a daily basis than other regions surveyed by Cisco, while the number of investigated alerts also saw a decline across the region since 2018.

How can you prevent cybercrime and help fight this battle?

One way for businesses to promote a culture of cybersecurity. This can be done by increasing representation and encouraging discussion of cybersecurity in board meetings. A Chief Information Security Officer could be employed to achieve this.

Malaysia CyberSecurity Leader Jason Yuen said: “The role and function of the CISO is relatively new in Malaysia, with Bank Negara leading the way in mandating the establishment of the CISO role in financial institutions. CISOs should focus on building a common understanding of cybersecurity, risks and their value proposition.”

As consumers, customers and Internet users, there are a number of ways we can help to prevent cybercrime:

  1. Remember to use a different password for each account that you own
  2. Avoid accessing sensitive information and saving your details when using public WiFi
  3. Read emails carefully to avoid phishing attacks. Look out for poor spelling and grammar
  4. Review website URLs and check if they are secure

If we all practice better cybersecurity, the battle against cybercriminals becomes easier.

Cybersecurity market value has nosedived. It will takeoff again

The cybersecurity market has nosedived with the threat of a global recession looming. But advancing technology and a move to more remote working due to the COVID-19 outbreak may cause the value of cybersecurity to soar.

Stock markets across the world experienced one of their worst months from the fear of a recession caused by the coronavirus. Leaders in cybersecurity like Palo Alto Network, Splunk and CrowdStrike were not immune, as they suffered stock price drops of over 15% in March.

Cybersecurity companies Palo Alto and FireEye have supply chains in Asia and are said to be closely monitoring the situation. Representatives at FireEye wrote: ”The recent coronavirus outbreak or the spread of a pandemic influenza, could impair the total volume of components that we are able to obtain, which could result in substantial harm to our results of operations.”

Cybersecurity will rise from the ashes

Despite plunging stocks, the threat of cyberattacks is not going away. In fact, more remote working caused by stay-home notices and unrest from the outbreak may leave companies vulnerable and in need of stronger cybersecurity.

A huge increase of more than 600% in cyber threat indicators related to the pandemic was identified by CYFIRMA through research into the dark web and hackers’ forums. The cybersecurity firm based in Singapore found that hackers are looking to target governments and businesses by taking advantage of public fear and uncertainty.

The World Health Organisation recently reported it was the target of elite hackers DarkHotel operating in East Asia. The organisation also warned of criminals posing as the WHO to steal money or sensitive information via email.

While COVID-19 may be one of the largest security threats the world has seen, cyber threats in Southeast Asia are far from new and will exist long after the coronavirus calms down. 

Vietnam suffered more than 6,200 cyber attacks in seven months and 94% of Vietnamese enterprises were victims of information breaches, while the Philippines ranked the 7th most attacked country in the world by Kaspersky’s report from October to December 2019.

Regulations require reactions

Countries across Southeast Asia are implementing laws to crack down on cyber threats and ensure firms are compliant, making cybersecurity even more valuable to avoid financial and criminal penalties.

Thailand will join Singapore and Malaysia in enforcing a Personal Data Protection Act, coming into force on 27 May 2020. This will require firms to prevent breaches or face a fine of up to THB500,000, six months imprisonment or both. 

Along with data protection laws, many countries have implemented cybersecurity acts to allow commissioned bodies to investigate cyber threats.

Companies are advised to adapt to varying regulations and perform cybersecurity audits to stay compliant and future-proof. Firms should also expect revisions to current acts as well as new acts by governments where laws are currently more relaxed like Indonesia.

Cybersecurity investors look to Southeast Asia

Spending in the ASEAN region is rising by an average of 15% per year.

Malaysia recently launched a Cybersecurity Lab with Austrian service provider TÜV Austria. The Austrian Ambassador Dr. Michael Postl said: “This partnership has the potential to establish Malaysia as a hub for cybersecurity testing and certification for the Asia Pacific region.”

Successful funding rounds by two Singaporean cloud-based cybersecurity organisations also provided an optimistic outlook for the industry. CYFIRMA raised $8 million to accelerate their business expansion and Horangi gained US$30 million to fuel its expansion into Southeast Asia and Indonesia in particular.

Organisations with weak cybersecurity measures should revise their processes and business continuity plans to remain future-proof and protected against cyber attacks as well as pandemics that may damage your market value.

And with the potential for greater adoption of cloud-based platforms and digitisation encouraged by more remote working and technological advancements, investors should consider the potential value of innovative cybersecurity startups taking off in the near future.