KUALA LUMPUR: As Malaysia rapidly transforms into a truly digital economy, more local businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs), are becoming predominantly online.
This increased connectivity, however, also massively increases their vulnerability to cyber threats, specifically ‘distributed denial of service’ or DDoS attacks.
There is a direct correlation between the increased connectivity in Malaysia and the number of inbound and outbound DDoS attacks locally, according to Attley Ng, senior vice president of Asia Pacific at NFOCUS, a leading network security provider.
A DDoS attack is a cyber-attack where an attacker attempts to render network resources or services unavailable to users, temporarily or permanently by overloading the system.
“Malaysia is on the cusp of transforming into a truly digital economy.
“Uninterrupted access to the internet and other digital services is critical, especially to enterprises and organisations that are delivering online and electronic commerce services.
“For e-government, online and e-commerce organisations, a coordinated DDos disruption can be catastrophic and severely impact the national economy,” claimed Ng during the launch of ‘Threat Intelligence and DDos Mitigation Services’ at the Le Meridien Hotel, here today.
MyCERT (Malaysia Computer Emergency Response Team) statistics show that over 2.7 million botnet drones and malware infection attacks with over 9,000 cyber security incidents were reported last year alone.
Depending on the industry, the financial cost of these disruptions could range anywhere from one to hundreds of millions of ringgit, according to Ng, who added that certain institutions also have their reputations at stake.
“Especially in this part of the world, in Southeast Asia, cyber awareness is not as good as it is in the west. We are about three to four years behind, with regards to knowledge and awareness on the matter.”
Meanwhile, Lee Cheung Loong, CEO and founder of IP ServerOne Solution, a web hosting company, claims that aside from monetary loss, customer’s data assets are also vulnerable to these attacks.
“Our attacks used to come from overseas. But recently we are seeing attacks coming from local modems.
“Local attacks account for about 40 per cent of our traffic and it’s no longer a small amount.
“As a critical service provider, we must be able to protect our customers’ valuable data assets and livelihood,” said Lee.
One of IP ServerOne’s clients, CiB Net Station Sdn Bhd, an online gaming company, finds great comfort in such commitment to security.
CiB Net Station’s executive director Chua Wee Yee said that her company could not possibly afford a network disruption of their website or game servers.
A single day interruption could cost the company up to RM 100,000 in losses, said Chua.
“The entire business model is dependent on online connectivity. The user experience is very important.
“Other than playing experience, there are also in-game purchases. If there was a cyber-attack during an online purchase, money that may have been deducted from the user may not reflect in the gaming account.
“That will greatly affect our reputation, especially when gamers can go to any platform hosted anywhere in the world,” Chua said.
The Malaysian government has done a fairly good job to provide a generally secure environment; however, there’s always room for improvement, according to Ng.
With NSFOCUS Threat Intelligence (TI) and NSFOCUS Anti-DDoS System (ADS), affordable, more proactive cyber security services are available here in Malaysia for local SMEs.
“One of our focuses is to make cyber security more affordable.
“From now on, not just the top-tier companies and banks can provide top tier cyber security services, but local SMEs can also follow suit,” said Ng.
NSFOCUS TI data feed provides wide-ranging visibility into the global threat landscape; particularly cyber attacks from North Asia and China, where as much as 40 per cent of the world’s hacking activity originates.
The data feeds integrate directly into NSFOCUS’ ADS, delivering differentiated, proactive measures in detecting and protecting against cyber-attacks against IPServerOne clients, as well as Malaysia as a whole.
Last month, a large DDoS attack targeting the internet performance management company Dyn in North America took down popular websites such as Twitter, Reddit, Spotify and SoundCloud.
The attack, described by experts as having shut down "half the internet," in the east coast of the United States, highlighted the vulnerability of the network systems and the threats of DDoS.