Microsoft sets up APAC public sector cybersecurity council

By Kate Birch
With APAC experiencing more ransomware attacks than elsewhere, Microsoft sets up council to accelerate public-private partnerships in cybersecurity

With the aim of building a strong and coordinated response against cyberattacks across Asia Pacific, Microsoft unveils the first APAC Public Sector Cyber Security Executive Council.

The aim of the council is to help fast-track public-private partnerships in cybersecurity, while further promoting a broader sharing of threat intelligence to be better positioned to respond in the event of attacks.

The council consists of 15 policy makers from seven APAC countries, including Brunei, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, along with cybersecurity professionals from Microsoft.

Council to share threat intelligence

This strong coalition builds on existing efforts to strengthen cybersecurity partnerships in Asa-Pacific, including through the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Global Forum on Cyber Expertise.

With a vision to build a community where threat intelligence, technology, and resources can be shared in a timely and open manner, the collective intelligence of the council will enable the cooperating nations to share best practices and strategies to overcome cybersecurity challenges.

“With similar threat landscapes, this partnership will ensure that we are steps ahead of the perpetrators, establishing higher standards for the cybersecurity eco-system as well,” says ChangHee Yun, Principle Researcher of AI/Future Strategy Center, National Information Society Agency Korea.

The forum will share best practices, learn from Microsoft security certification trainings, dedicated workshops, and hands-on lab sessions, with a goal of driving improvements to the digital skills of the workforce to reduce the talent gap in cybersecurity across the participating nations.

Members will share experiences and knowledge relating to cyber threats and will meet virtually every quarter in order to exchange information on cyber threats and cybersecurity solutions.

Asia Pacific has higher rate of cyber attacks

While cybercrime is an increasingly big problem worldwide, it is especially problematic across Asia Pacific, with the region continuing to experience a higher-than-average encounter rate for malware and ransomware attacks – 1.6 and 1.7 times higher, respectively, than the rest of the world, according to findings from Microsoft’s Security Endpoint Threat Report.

Developing countries such as Sri Lanka, India and Vietnam are most vulnerable to such threats, while malware and ransomware threat encounter rates in Japan, New Zealand and Australia were three to six times lower than the regional average. According Mary Jo Schrade, Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit, Microsoft Asia, “countries that have higher piracy rates and lower cyber hygiene tend to be more severely impacted by cyberthreats”.

And since the onset of the pandemic, the volume of successful attacks in outbreak-hit countries seems to be increasing, according to the report.




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