Cybersecurity in Support of ASEAN’s Digital Ambitions

ASEAN as a region has experienced accelerated digitalisation which has helped to grow the region’s digital economy, but have also led to new and novel challenges.

Rapid digital transformation was accelerated by COVID-19 as the digital economy started taking shape in ASEAN. For example, startups leveraging technology to disrupt traditional industries led to a proliferation of e-commerce platforms, e-wallets, and super-apps amongst others. ASEAN is one of the fastest growing internet markets in the world with 125,000 new users coming online every day. As a result, the ASEAN digital economy is projected to grow significantly with an estimated US$1 trillion to be added to the regional GDP over the next decade. Moreover, ASEAN’s potential has not gone unnoticed and many multinational companies have been trying to penetrate the ASEAN market as evidenced by major technology companies’ increased footprint in the region. 

In an era where everything is “digital by default”, this “new normal” has not only changed habits and engendered a shift towards a more digitalised way of life, but this has also increased the attack surface area for cyberattacks. With that in mind, Cybersecurity needs to be viewed as an enabler of digitalisation, where ASEAN nations accrue the benefits of digitalisation and the enhanced connectivity, there is also a need to address the cybersecurity risks faced.

Timeline of Significant Cyber Incidents in ASEAN

Source: AIBP: Business and Data Resilience in ASEAN

Enterprise systems and networks are more interconnected today, with supply chains of computer products and services being complex and varied. Government and private sector networks including 5G and Internet of Thing (IoT) devices, all of which are key for the economic viability of ASEAN’s digital economy. Cyber threats will continue to evolve and grow in sophistication, as new technology has grown increasingly complex, and new digital innovations are outpacing abilities to keep it secure.

To support ASEAN’s digital economy and ambitions, the 2021 – 2025 ASEAN Cybersecurity Cooperation Strategy was published and seeks to support the establishment of a rules-based multilateral order for cyberspace.

Source: ASEAN Cybersecurity Cooperation Strategy

What are AIBP Stakeholders Saying about CyberSecurity?

“So we see a lot of machine learning, cybersecurity technologies being used to analyse fraud patterns and to see how we can be protected… but somehow the technologies might not be at once enough with the pattern of the fraudsters and so we have to look into the trends which can help eliminate the weakness of the banks.” – Sam Tanskul, Head of Innovation Lab, Krungsri Group, at AIBP Insights, on 2 November 2021

“The thing is that you need to start data governance first, because data governance control(s) everything about data in your organisation, including data security, and privacy, and everything, including people, and the process(es). So the thing is that if you don’t have data governance, or you don’t have people who have knowledge on data governance, it is a problem. You cannot start with buying a security tool, or countermeasure, or anything about technical issues. The thing is that you need to train people or build awareness about data. So data governance is really important.” – Dr. Chalee Vorakulpipat, Principal Researcher, Head of Information Security Research Team, National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC)

“The most important thing is we develop our information sharing capacity, of which, as we all know, information is really the most relevant thing in the world. If you have a lot of information, you have the power. So in essence, information sharing, adoption of standards and a whole of nation and government approach, or probably a whole of society approach would be the right thing to do.” – Jose Carlos P. Reyes, Director IV, Cybersecurity Bureau, Department of Information and Communications Technology, at AIBP Insights, on 2 November 2021

“As you all know, there is no such thing as 100% security. Like it or not, we have to accept that things can happen, the incidents can happen. So what’s important now is not just about security, but it’s also about resilience. That means you need to be able to bounce back to ensure business continuity, to minimise the disruption to the services. But when we talk about cyberattack, about resilience, etc, we have to understand that it has to cover key elements, which (are) people, process, and technology.” – Dato’ Ts. Dr. Haji Amirudin Abdul Wahab, Chief Executive Officer, CyberSecurity Malaysia, at AIBP Insights, on 2 November 2021

CyberSecurity will be a key topic of discussion in our AIBP Conference and Exhibition 2022 

Be part of our Discussions:

17th & 18th October, Royale Chulan Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

1st & 2nd November, Ritz Carlton Mega Kuningan, Jakarta, Indonesia

15th & 16th November, Marriott Manila, Manila, Philippines

29th & 30th November, Conrad Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand

Speakers Include:


1 September 2022