By JO TIMBUONGbytz@thestar.com.my
PETALING JAYA: If the nation wants to keep its cyberspace borders safe, it needs to focus harder on human capital development and encourage greater collaboration with industry players.
CyberSecurity Malaysia outgoing chief executive officer Datuk Lt Col (rtd) Husin Jazri said that as long as the Internet exists, there is the need to improve cybersecurity for the purpose of national governance, safety and privacy.
"More effort should go into creating a large cybersecurity industry for the country so that experts can gather and share knowledge for the greater good," he told Bytz.
Husin said the lack of human capital in the cybersecurity field is the biggest hurdle that Malaysia faces in protecting its cyberspace properties and upholding data sovereignty.
"We need these experts in quantity and quality, and those that we have need to be trained constantly to keep up with the new threats. Right now, I don't believe the country has enough of these cybersecurity experts," he said.
Husin said one way of supplying the nation with capable cybersecurity experts is to have more collaborations between local and foreign experts.
Such interactions will encourage knowledge sharing and allow experts to create better tools to protect Internet users from cybercriminals.
This will give the country an advantage in the global cybersecurity arena; an industry that is worth more than US$100bil (RM300bil), according to market analyst Gartner. It estimates that RM38.3bil was spent on cybersecurity services worldwide last year.
Husin said that during his 12-year tenure as the head of CyberSecurity Malaysia, the national cybersecurity agency had started various initiatives to help keep Malaysians safe in cyberspace.
Among these is the Cyber999 helpline, where the public can report cybersecurity issues and get help. The helpline received a total of 5,581 reports between January and June, most of which were about Internet fraud and cyberbullying.
Another is its CyberSafe programme to teach children how they can be safe when they go online.
CyberSecurity Malaysia is trying to start a PC clinic, where it plans to also offer data forensic and consultation services for the public.
Husin said the agency would also like to work more on educational programmes but a tight budget prevents it from doing so. "To compensate for this, we have initiated ventures with several companies to increase the reach (of our programmes)," he said.
The agency also wants to make Cyber999 friendlier by including the human element. Currently, the public can only e-mail their complaints. "It lacks the more personal face-to-face interactions. This is unfinished work for me," Husin said.