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Microsoft brings APAC policymakers together in security council

Microsoft’s APAC public sector security council will meet once a quarter to share threat intelligence and best practices for combating cyber threats

Microsoft has formed a public sector cyber security council comprising 15 policymakers across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region to address cyber threats and share best practices.

The members hail from Brunei, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, and will be supported by cyber security professionals from Microsoft.

Microsoft said the council will meet virtually each quarter, with a vision to build a community where threat intelligence, technology and resources can be shared in a timely and open manner.

The initiative will also build on existing efforts to strengthen cyber security partnerships in the region, including through the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, ASEAN and Global Forum on Cyber Expertise, it added.

Noting that cyber security is a national agenda for Malaysia, Cybersecurity Malaysia CEO Haji Amirudin Abdul Wahab said the country continues to see cyber criminal activities rise exponentially with the proliferation of data and digital connectivity.

“This coalition certainly establishes stronger partnerships with industry leaders and practitioners that will allow us to fortify our security postures and combat cyber crime,” he added.

Chang Hee Yun, a principal researcher from Korea’s National Information Society Agency, said the collective intelligence among APAC nations is paramount to resolve cyber security challenges at a faster pace and in a more proactive manner.

“With similar threat landscapes, this partnership will ensure that we are steps ahead of the perpetrators, establishing higher standards for the cyber security eco-system as well,” Chang added.

The formation of the council comes at a time when cyber security threats in the region are growing.

According to Microsoft’s Security endpoint threat report 2019, an annual research aimed at identifying cyber threats and building cyber resilience across the region, the malware encounter rate in APAC was 5.34%, down from 23% in 2018.

However, this figure was 1.6 times higher than the global average, making APAC susceptible to cyber threats, said Mary Jo Schrade, assistant general counsel at Microsoft Asia’s digital crimes unit.

In developing markets, where there is a lower level of cyber hygiene and more frequent use of pirated software, ransomware was a bigger problem than in developed markets. Overall, the ransomware encounter rate in the region fell by 29% in 2018 but was still 1.7 times higher than the global figure.

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