Thailand struggling to gird itself for cyberthreats

Thailand struggling to gird itself for cyberthreats

Thailand's cybersecurity and critical infrastructure protection are still in an emerging stage, lacking domestic laws and a national security framework, says leading global cybersecurity firms.

To handle increasingly sophisticated cyberthreats, it is crucial that a clear national security strategy, together with cybersecurity laws and related measures on par with those in Singapore and Malaysia, be implemented, said Peerapong Jongvibool, vice-president for Southeast Asia and Hong Kong at Fortinet.

He said the recent WannaCry ransomware cyberattack is a serious wake-up call for cybersecurity awareness in the country.

Mr Peerapong said that the government needs to prioritise security investment as the country is moving towards a digitally-driven economy, which is dubbed Thailand 4.0.

He cited a report conducted by global research firm Frost & Sullivan, which stated that Thailand is the fifth largest market for cybersecurity in Asean. Spending on cybersecurity in Thailand is expected to grow by 17% to US$68 million (2.35 billion baht) in 2017.

Gavin Chow, a network and security strategist at Fortinet, said that in addition to ransomware, distributed denial of service attacks and vulnerabilities to Internet of Things networks also pose a threat to Thailand.

Apart from the government, he said the medical, telecom and banking industries also need to enhance their cybersecurity capabilities.

Wuthikrai Ratanamaitrikiat, security consultant at Trend Micro Thailand, a Japan-based security firm, said that the WaanaCry ransomware attack is stimulating cybersecurity in Thailand, particularly among corporate users.

Safeguarding against ransomware was one of the top cybersecurity investments in Thailand last year, he said.

Mark Skilton, a cybersecurity researcher at Warwick Business School, said the WannaCry attack has prompted calls for a global "cyberpolice force" to help manage these escalating threats.


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