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Asia firms urged to decentralise their cyber security structure

12/11/2015 by Jeremy Hopwood


Singapore's former head of cyber security has urged companies across Asia to adopt a three-tiered approach in order to combat the threat posed by hackers, FinanceAsia reports.

Alan Seow, who formerly worked at the Singapore Ministry of Communication and Information, believes that firms would stand a better chance of fending off hacker attacks if they formed their security measures into three levels.

Firstly, preparedness, i.e. ensuring that employees are screened from being exposed. Secondly, responsiveness, with systems in place to quash attacks and limit their impact. And thirdly, recovery, i.e. being able to quickly bounce back from an attack without too much of a struggle.

However, Seow acknowledged that even those that are, what he'd deem, 'hacker-ready' will never be 100% secure from attack.

He couldn't stress the importance of cyber security enough, pointing out how attacks "can lead to a loss of data, a loss of protection and loss of lives". On the last point he stressed: "I'm serious about this."

For telecoms firms, the effects of data loss have been underlined in a number of high-profile attacks worldwide. For example, British operator TalkTalk expects the cost of dealing with its most recent cyber-attack could rise to £35 million.

The telecoms group came to that figure after adding up an initial surge in customer losses, IT costs and the loss of online sales after it was forced to take down its breached website. The company does not yet know how the attack will impact its customer base in the long run.

Seow used Sony as an example of a company who does not appear to have learnt its lesson on IT security following a well-publicised attack in November 2014.

"Sony does not appear to have moved on past its decentralised structure," Seow said. "Therefore even if one department improves its defences these are not [then] passed to others."



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