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Malaysia partners Huawei in cyber security

A joint steering committee will meet twice a year to address cyber security issues, among other measures to shore up Malaysia’s cyber security capabilities

The Malaysian government will work with Chinese technology giant Huawei to deepen its capabilities in combatting cyber threats that have been plaguing the country in recent months.

As part of the collaboration, Malaysia’s cyber security agency, CyberSecurity Malaysia, will establish a joint steering committee with Huawei that will meet twice a year to discuss issues such as cyber security standards and approaches in fending off cyber threats. A taskforce from both organisations will be tasked to execute all decisions made by the committee.

In October 2017, Malaysia was hit by one of the biggest data breaches in the country when the personal data of more than 46 million mobile phone users was reportedly leaked online.

The leaked data comprised personal details, such as e-mail and billing addresses, as well as SIM card information of pre-paid and post-paid mobile subscribers of at least 12 telcos and mobile virtual network operators.

Speaking at the opening of a Huawei event in Kuala Lumpur on 9 November 2017, Malaysia’s deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi noted that even as the country gears up to tap into the digital economy, there is a need to secure its digital infrastructure.

CyberSecurity Malaysia CEO Haji Amirudin Bin Abdul Wahab agreed, noting that the country needs to continue to be proactive in identifying and working with industry players to harness the expertise and support needed to ensure a safer and more secure cyber space.

“Our partnership with Huawei is aligned to our cyber security efforts with the nation’s digital agenda, and will strengthen our capabilities in reinforcing the nation’s cyber defences to protect against escalating cyber threats. To thrive in a digital economy, cyber security needs to be at the core of our digital transformation strategy,” he added.

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With cyber security talent a key ingredient for any government-led cyber security initiative to succeed, Huawei said it will help to develop Malaysia’s cyber security players through the Cyber Security Malaysia Collaborative Partner programme and training courses. It will also assist in promoting cyber security awareness at both national and international levels.

In the latest Global Cybersecurity Index released by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Malaysia ranked third globally behind Singapore and the US in terms of its commitment to cyber security. Malaysia’s creation of a certification body in Cybersecurity Malaysia was credited for its good ranking in the index, which was first launched in 2014.

Brahima Sanou, director of the ITU’s telecommunication development bureau, said: “As the global community rapidly embraces ICT as a key enabler for social and economic development, it is vital that cyber security is made an integral and indivisible part of the digital transformation.

“We continue to encourage governments to consider national policies that take into account cyber security so that everyone can reap the benefits of the online world.”

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