We live in a very connected world, and it enables us to reach out wider and higher. However, that very connectivity also exposes us to cyber threats.
“The moment you are connected, you are exposed,” GE Digital Commercial Lead Alvin Ng spelled out the harsh truth to the audience at the GE Digital Advantage Conference 2016 in Kuala Lumpur.
As hackers get better at intruding our digital systems, we need to protect ourselves with better knowledge, processes, technology and products.
“There was a time when a blue screen is the worst thing that can happen to you,” said Nikhil Batra, IDC Asia/Pacific Research Manager.
The blue screen of death, as aptly labelled by IT enthusiasts in the 1990s, is no longer the main concern of the digital world today.
“We have moved from securing the parameter to securing cloud. Enterprises are apprehensive about (cloud computing) solutions as they are concerned with threats,” said Batra.
When developing cybersecurity solutions, Batra said the approach has shifted from reactive to proactive.
“Instead of asking what to do when you are hacked, we now look at how to prevent hacking from happening,” he said.
But the hacker community is more sophisticated now. In the past, hackers used to operate in silo or small groups, but today, it has become a syndicated crime holding companies for ransom, said Batra.
Cybersecurity Malaysia Chief Technology Officer Dr Solahuddin Shamsuddin said users need to be better educated to avoid falling for scams.
“How do we handle black hats who spend all their time figuring how to hack into your system? The whole ecosystem has to be protected and that is a big challenge. And often, we find that people are the biggest weakness,” he said.
GE Digital Solutions Architect Rajiv Niles concurred, saying that people often throw a technological solution to a problem while the breach may be user inflicted.
“For example, employees need to be trained to spot spear phishing, which is an email spoofing fraud attempt to access unauthorised data,” he said.
On malwares, Rajiv said viruses have evolved and are harder to be traced by anti-virus software.
“Anti-viruses follow a set of pattern of definitions and this makes it easy for hackers to bypass. To improve security, the way forward is with AI (artificial intelligence),” he said.