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Malaysia Faces Growing Cybersecurity Threats

Published: 5.2.2024

Recent reports from cybersecurity firms Kaspersky and Cisco shed light on the evolving landscape of cyber threats facing Malaysia, highlighting both the magnitude of the challenges and the urgent need for enhanced readiness. 

According to Kaspersky, the year 2023 witnessed over 22 million local cyber threats blocked within Malaysia alone. Notably, offline media such as USB drives emerged as a common attack vector, with worms and file viruses constituting a significant portion of these threats. Despite a slight decrease from previous years, Yeo Siang Tiong, Kaspersky's general manager for South-East Asia, warns against complacency, citing a shift in cybercriminal tactics towards more targeted attacks. 

Adding to the concerns, the 2024 Cisco Cybersecurity Readiness Index paints a concerning picture of Malaysian enterprises' preparedness. Only 2% of companies reached a "Mature" level of readiness, while a staggering 66% fell into the lowest-scoring categories of "Beginner" or "Formative." This lack of readiness is compounded by the prevalence of cybersecurity incidents, with 73% of surveyed companies experiencing such events in the past year, incurring significant financial losses, according to the report. 

The shortage of cybersecurity talent exacerbates the situation, with 91% of firms identifying it as a problem and 44% reporting more than 10 vacant cybersecurity roles. Furthermore, 77% of companies fear that a cybersecurity incident could disrupt their business operations in the next two years. 

Despite these challenges, a surprising 85% of Malaysian companies express confidence in their ability to confront cyber threats. However, Cisco's executive vice president and general manager of security and collaboration, Jeetu Patel, warns against overconfidence, emphasizing the need for organizations to prioritize investments in integrated platforms and leverage artificial intelligence to operate at machine scale. 

In light of these reports, it is evident that Malaysia faces a critical cybersecurity situation requiring immediate attention and concerted efforts from both public and private sectors to enhance resilience and effectively combat emerging threats. 

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