NetMission Insight: Cybersecurity, Privacy & Safer Internet

Written by Mohd Ali Jauhar, Unzila Faheem
Edited by Mahboba Mahmoodi, Jenna Fung

The internet is becoming increasingly important these days, cybersecurity plays an important role to keep data on this wide network safe from malicious attacks. Cybersecurity protects our digital devices such as smartphones, computers, networks, and servers from unauthorized access for theft and damages within a system. Cyber-attacks and threats are planned to access, change, or destroy sensitive information and interrupt normal processes. The common types of cybercrimes include malware attacks, DoS, DDoS, MitM, Phishing, SQL injection, and XSS attacks. 

The digital transformation in Asia has emerged among the most transformative means to sustainable growth that resulted in a strong economy due to the rapid adoption of the Internet and mobile technologies. However, there is a gap in cybercrime legislation in Asian countries. The lack of awareness, knowledge, and basic security skills make online transactions susceptible to digital theft. Trend Micro’s Cyber Risk Index found that about 18% of APAC organizations have suffered seven or more attacks over the past year, and the majority (81%) suffered one or more attacks. Since the APAC region is among the highest number of internet users in the globe, it requires more attention and investments in cybersecurity. Countries such as Singapore, Bangladesh, and the Philippines had experienced a huge number of cyber incidents that resulted in the theft of millions of dollars from banks and personal information from databases. According to Cybercrime Magazine, the latest forecast is for global ransomware damage costs to reach $20 billion by 2021-57X more than 2015.

It has been observed that the weakest link in the security chain is human link and error that can be easily manipulated and used against an organization’s security guide book. Since personal hygiene can help the body’s immunity system, cyber hygiene can prevent cyber-attacks and secure an organization from outsiders. Therefore, organizations and individuals can follow the (non-exhaustive) cyber hygiene measures to Identify devices connected to the internet, Prioritize the critical infrastructures, Use security hardening techniques such as encryption, Update assets with security patches, and Back up their data.

With the popularity of social media applications, the privacy policy and data collection have arisen more concerns among their users. Out of which we have analyzed the WhatsApp new privacy policy change as the case study for this training. According to the new privacy policy of WhatsApp, it shares received information to Facebook companies for marketing purposes. The data shared includes data usage and mainly metadata. The common misconceptions which caused a global outcry include WhatsApp sharing location, contacts and text messages. However, the major privacy concerns induced by the policy include the monetization of user data and targeted advertising. 

Nowadays, with all the advancements in technology, the number of cybercrimes is increasing and creating massive issues. For a better internet experience, it is suggested to always follow cyber ethics and the best practices. Besides, as good netizens, we should take part to spread awareness among societies to update systems and utilize antivirus software to protect their systems more efficiently. Moreover, we have to prevent actions that would be considered uncivil in our real lives. Also, we should report crimes such as cyberbullying and scams. i.e., as our guest speaker, Mr. Chester Soong suggested: “not sending an email in anger.”   For more information, please do not hesitate to visit our training module for Cybersecurity, privacy, and safer internet on