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EXCLUSIVE – Tackling cyberthreats for government IT ecosystems: how well prepared are you?

EXCLUSIVE Tackling cyberthreats for government IT ecosystems how well prepared are you

Data breaches and hacks of government networks, once novel and shocking, have become a problematic fact of life over the past few years. Cybersecurity, in fact has become the topmost concern of governments all around the world.

From the UK Parliament breach to the recent WannaCry global ransomware attack, the frequency and scale of cyberattacks is increasing. A wide range of issues plague government agencies and most of them particularly lag on replacing outdated software, patching current software and individual endpoint defence — but the good news is that these issues are largely fixable.

Equifax, the credit report giant, has reported the worst-ever data breach that has happened in US. About 143 million US customers have had information compromised in a cybersecurity breach. Cyber-criminals accessed data such as Social Security numbers, birth dates and addresses during the incident.

In a recent development, Malaysian government placed National Cyber Security Agency (NCSA) under the umbrella of the National Security Council. This has been done under the premise that placing it under one agency will ensure better, more coordinated action against cybersecurity threats in Malaysia. It is reported there are about 10,000 cybersecurity-related reports received every year. The emphasis is on enhancing forecasting capability, prevention capability, countering capability and corrective capability.

As we all know, cyberthreats are becoming ever more sophisticated. Without effective solutions to mitigate them, governments are at the mercy of cyber-attacks that leave confidential data exposed and cause reputational damage. And we are not even talking about draining financial resources, and disrupting seamless service delivery levels to the citizens!

OpenGov in collaboration with Kaspersky Lab organised a unique Breakfast Insight about cybersecurity. This took place at Marriott Putrajaya on September 26 2017. It was a well-attended meet of senior executives from a wide range of key public-sector agencies and departments of Malaysian government gathered for an exclusive and highly insightful discussion on the growing importance of cybersecurity and how well prepared the agencies are in combating this ever-growing threat.

Mr. Mohit Sagar, Editor-in-Chief of OpenGov Asia kicked off the discussion talking about the looming danger of unpreparedness against the sophisticated cyber-attacks happening across the world and Asia-Pacific region.

This was followed by a Welcome address given by Ms. Sylvia Ng, General Manager (SEA) Kaspersky Lab.

The highlight of the Breakfast Insight was the KASPERSKY INTERACTIVE PROTECTION SIMULATION (KIPS for Government). This was ably moderated by Mr. Oleg Abdurashitov, Head Public Affairs Asia Pacific, Kaspersky Lab.

KIPS purports to impart practical and strong cybersecurity management skills via a proven and effective simulation. The goal is to make sure senior management teams are always powered on and prepared to withstand and remediate against cyberthreats.

Since its inception in 2013, KIPS has been played by 3500 senior level security professionals from 17 countries and has benefitted from it.

The delegates at the Breakfast Insight gave a resounding thumps-up to the simulation game and rated it as one of the best features of the Breakfast Insight.

What is KIPS

Kaspersky BI Malaysia KIPS 1

The Simulation is an exercise that places senior management teams from government departments into a realistic simulated environment facing a series of unexpected cyber threats, while trying to protect classified information and maintain confidence.

The idea is to build a cyber defence strategy by making choices from amongst the best proactive and reactive controls available.

Every reaction made by the teams to the unfolding events changes the way the scenario plays out, and ultimately shows how well prepared the agency is to protect sensitive information or if it is not.

A highly interactive and effective simulation exercise

Kaspersky BI Malaysia KIPS 2

The simulation was targeted at senior management officials and aimed at increasing their awareness of the risks and security problems of running modern computerised systems.

The attending delegates were divided into competing teams of 6-7 people and were taken through a series of game moves tasked with running operations in the most efficient way. The simulation game had them running an organisation consisting of some facilities and computers controlling it. During the rounds of the game, the organisation generates public welfare / state outcomes.

The teams also had to face cyber-attacks potentially impacting agency performance. To defend their agency, each team had to take strategic, managerial and technical decisions while taking operational constraints into account and maintaining a high level of citizen centric service delivery levels.

The Breakast Insight turned out to be a fun-filled, highly engaging 2-hour session including KIPS game results declaration and interactive discussions.

The aim of the simulation exercise was to make the delegates aware of how to make the security infrastructure more robust and cyber defences more powerful.

This simulation is a dynamic awareness program based on “learning by doing”. The teamwork builds cooperation, competition fosters initiative & analysis skills and the gameplay develops understanding of cybersecurity measures.

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