Malaysia calls for increased global cooperation in cybersecurity

Gobind Singh Deo

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia has called for increased global cooperation to adequately handle cybersecurity threats and risks.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo, who made the call, said cybersecurity incidents go beyond countries, beyond borders.

He said this in a policy statement delivered at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)  Plenipotentiary Conference 2018 (PP-18) in Dubai. The meeting runs from Monday to Nov 16.

“The world needs practical and concerted measures to adequately deal with cybersecurity. The more people are connected, the more incidents there are. Hence, the need for telecommunication and ICT policy makers and regulators to do more about cyber incidents which are increasing by the day.

“That is one of the reasons we are here today, to find a way to manage all this, on a global scale,” he told the audience of ministers, top policymakers and regulators of telecommunication and ICT from around the world.

Gobind Singh cited cybersecurity incidents such as the WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017 and the recent Facebook security breach exposing the accounts of 50 million users, which have had a major impact globally resulting in this becoming the norm.

He acknowledged that while some measures have been put in place by the ITU, those with negative intent also tend to get more creative to circumvent the law.

“The question for us all is, what do we, as the ITU, have to do to address this? We are mindful that it is the ITU members who are responsible for the Internet, which is the engine that drives the global digital economy,” he said.

Gobind Singh also said that ITU members continue to roll-out infrastructure, improve quality of service and affordability, as well as drive transformation.

“They must be mindful that the more their citizens get connected, the more incidents there will be. Hence, the need for the ITU to act swiftly and do more to tackle cyber incidents,” he said.

He recalled that when Flight MH370 went missing four years ago, the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in 2014 responded to Malaysia’s call for assistance immediately, which has resulted in all commercial flights now being able to be tracked in real time, demonstrating that the ITU can move quickly to address issues for the greater good.

“However, there is a lot more to be done. While we open up a world of possibilities to the world’s citizens, we also have a duty to protect, and that duty is paramount. Malaysia will extend our full cooperation in this. Together, we must make the cyberspace a safe place,” he said.

Established in 1865, the ITU is the United Nations specialised agency for telecommunication and ICT.

The Plenipotentiary Conference, held once every four years and attended by about 2,500 delegates from the 193 ITU member countries, is the ITU highest decision-making body which decides the direction of the ITU for the next four-year cycle, and elects its top officials and governing bodies.

The PP-18 is the ITU 20th Plenipotentiary Conference. — Bernama

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