Home Pertahanan dan Keselamatan #Pertahanan: Robust cybersecurity measures critical for nation’s defence

#Pertahanan: Robust cybersecurity measures critical for nation’s defence

by Air Times Correspondent

KUALA LUMPUR, 20 AUGUST – Building robust cybersecurity measures and fostering a culture of security awareness is critical.

Deputy Defence Mininster Adly Zahari said that without them, incidents such as data breaches to disruptions  of critical infrastructure would erode the integrity and credibility of one’s defence mechanism.

“This can, in turn, create uncertainty among investors and citizens. I  cannot deny  that  today’s  battlefront    extends beyond land, sea and air to include the cyber  world,” Adly said.

He added that today, information held a supreme value and safeguarding one’s digital data was exceptionally  important.

“As we push the boundaries of technology to become regional leaders in fields like Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of   things, and blockchain, we also expose  ourselves  to cyber  challenges.

“Ultimately, national security will   be at risk. Still, these challenges should not prevent us from innovation;  rather, a call to strengthen our defences,” he said in his  keynote address at the ‘Siber Siaga 2023’ programme, themed ‘Defending Cyberspace and National   Sovereignty’ at the Kuala Lumpur Convention  Centre.

The event was jointly organized by the ministry’s Defence Cyber and Electromagnetic Division and  Cyber DSA and included participants from the ‘Asean Cyber Defence Network Meeting’.

The programme aimed to enhance awareness of cybersecurity among the Armed Forces, defence and security community. It also sought to expand cooperation and reinforce cross-sector collaboration among government agencies, industry players, academia and the cyber community.

Adly said that hosting the programme demonstrated the commitment of the Malaysian Armed Forces in safeguarding its cyberspace domain.

“This achievement is truly remarkable, underscoring the importance of a unified approach in strengthening our nation’s cybersecurity ecosystem.

“In this right, the Defence White Paper underscores the need to establish a dedicated organisation to handle the cyber domain.

“Subsequently, the Defence Ministry will collaborate with central agencies to formulate a new structure for the Defence Cyber and Electromagnetic Division, enabling the Malaysian Armed Forces to align with other defence cyber organisations in the region, and globally,” said Adly.

He stressed that living in an era where technology was advancing rapidly, one’s reliance on digital networks was vital, from communication to commerce, even in healthcare and national security.

However, be added that along with that dependence, came risks that one must identify and address – not alone but together.

Adly hoped the programme would provide a platform to support and enable a foundation for a comprehensive and   inclusive   collaboration   among   sectors, and ideally contribute to the concept of a comprehensive defence – one of the strategic pillars of Malaysia’s defence strategy.

He added that to better enhance collaboration and understanding of the current warfare landscape, the programme brought the topic of ‘Modern Digital Battlefield: Connectivity, Lethality, Autonomy and Sustainability.’

“The ‘Modern Digital Battlefield’ is a dynamic and complex environment that requires constant adjustment and the use of emerging cyber technologies, to achieve military objectives while minimising undesired effects as defined by its four pillars,” he said.

Adly explained that connectivity provided real-time coordination capabilities.

“While it is extremely important in modern warfare, the digital and cyber domain boundaries remain   unknown, therefore displaying a more complex setting making planning, monitoring and mitigation efforts far more challenging.

“Enhanced lethality is all about accuracy and reduces collateral damage. In this context, it does not refer to only traditional military strength, but also the potential cyber-attacks, that could disrupt governments, economies and societies on a large scale.

“The results are significant, and our responsibility to safeguard all forms of assets and minimise the risk is important,” Adly said.

On the concept of autonomy, Adly said that it brought challenges and opportunities.

“When we create systems capable of making independent decisions, such as unmanned systems, we must be able to deal with unforeseen ethical questions and risks.

“Striking a balance between digitalisation and humane control is a challenge that warrants deep discussion,” he said.

On sustainability, Adly said it focused on  employing innovation for continued operations while minimising environmental impact.

“In the digital domain, continuous strategic efforts coupled with a skilled workforce to protect our digital future, are extremely important.

“Together, these  elements  shape  a  dynamic and  complex  battlefield, demanding strategic planning and responsible actions,” he said.

On the forum, Adly said they would hear insights from experts, visionary leaders and prominent thinkers   who would share their knowledge and experiences.

“It is my hope that the participants will engage in open and productive discussions, share best practices and mutually shape the path forward to protect our digital world.

“It is important to acknowledge that there is nothing impossible in managing cyber challenges today. By sharing our knowledge, experiences and creativity, we can construct a digital landscape that focuses on safety, resilience and the well-being of our digital world, even though it spans thousands of kilometres.

“In this respect, I encourage everyone to actively participate, challenge perspectives and contribute   unique viewpoints to upcoming discussions. Together, we can illuminate the future of the modern digital arena,” said Adly.

Meanwhile, Defence Forces chief Gen Tan Sri Affendi Buang noted the rising prominence of cyber security which represented a powerful paradigm to strengthen one’s national efforts.

“In this day and age, where technology connects us all and autonomy is a driving force, we find ourselves coming together to tackle potential threats that challenge our sovereignty and national interest.

“The unity and cooperation among different stakeholders serve as the very foundation on which our nation’s strength rests,” Affendi said.

He paid tribute to the Malaysian Armed Forces, the Defence Ministry, the National Security Council, the National Cyber Security Agency, Cyber Security Malaysia, Asean partners and the international collaborators from 29 countries.

“Your unwavering support is the cornerstone of the success we celebrate.

“This programme is more than just a gathering. It’s a symbol of our commitment to raising awareness about cyber threats among not just the Armed Forces and security agencies, but also among the public and private sectors as well, as we aspire to build collaborations that transcend boundaries and perspectives.

“As we engage in thoughtful discussions led by our esteemed panelists, let’s remember that our journey to greater awareness is what sets the foundation for our resilience against cyber threats.

“Just as modern warfare transcends geographical borders, our commitment to collective action against cyber threats embodies unity across government and society,” said Affendi.

He noted that protecting one’s national cyber ecosystem was not just the duty of the military and cyber agencies but a shared responsibility that called on each citizen to enhance their knowledge and vigilance in the cyber realm.

“Just as the convergence of defense and cyber security innovations captures our attention, let’s actively play our role in providing awareness and securing our digital future.

“To achieve this objective, we have no choice but to collaborate and cooperate in ensuring the element of integrity and security of our nations are holistically protected.

“The fact that the advancement of technology is moving at a greater pace is something that we have to endure, because the moment we delay building up our cyber capabilities, the chances for our system to be exploited will be higher,”he said.

Affendi added that all and sundry had to work the extra mile, using what one could afford, to avoid lagging behind in this highly dynamic environment. “Most importantly, it is our shared responsibility to ensure the merger of technical know-how and efficiency results in a robust architecture that can shield our nation.

“I am deeply grateful to all participating entities, professionals, universities, and dedicated participants – both from our nation and our esteemed regional and international partners.

“Your dedication has undoubtedly been the driving force behind the remarkable success of this event. As we move forward, let’s carry the lessons identified and the connections formed during this programme with us.

“Let’s work together, transcending borders, to ensure the security of our national cyber ecosystem and beyond.

“May the knowledge gained and the connections established during this programme have a ripple effect, extending the security of our national cyber landscape far and wide.

“With these thoughts, I conclude, knowing that our united efforts will continue to strengthen our nation in the face of an ever increasing cyber challenges,” Affendi summed up. – airtimes.my


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