Awareness and Training Key to Toughen Up Cambodia’s Cyberspace

Educating users on the dangers of cybercrime and training cybersecurity offers are essential to clamp down on hacking and other cyberattacks, according to a panel of experts at CTX 2022
panel discussion ‘Cybersecurity in Digital Economy and Society. Kiripost via CTX
panel discussion ‘Cybersecurity in Digital Economy and Society. Kiripost via CTX

The dawn of digital economies has led to an increase in the volume of cyberattacks, with the majority being financially motivated and actors attempting to infiltrate a target system to employ malware, steal data or withdraw funds.

The demand for cybersecurity often outpaces the available approaches, the adaptation of systems and the training of cybersecurity experts to keep systems safe, said a panel of experts at last week’s inaugural Cambodia Tech Expo (CTX) 2022 in Phnom Penh.

Safeguarding operations and information is key. That is why capacity-building programs and cooperation between governments, companies and education centers are key components for cybersecurity. The more data is generated, processed and used, the higher the demand is for trust.

panel discussion ‘Cybersecurity in Digital Economy and Society. Kiripost via CTX
panel discussion ‘Cybersecurity in Digital Economy and Society. Kiripost via CTX

One percent of cybercriminals are prosecuted

According to a 2021 World Bank report, cybercrime incidents caused a $6 trillion loss. It is estimated this figure will rise to $10.5 trillion in 2025. Meanwhile, the cybersecurity market is predicted to increase at a rate of 12.6 percent annually until 2030. Only one percent of cybercriminals are prosecuted.

During the panel discussion ‘Cybersecurity in Digital Economy and Society’, Wan S. Yi, Chief Director of the Korean Internet & Security Agency Security Agency (KISA) in Indonesia, raised an example of one social media application that is now popular with Koreans, KaKao Talk. About 83 percent of the population currently use it. Despite that, it lost $20 million overnight - and even more two days later.

“Kakao servers were located in SKC&C data center, where a fire broke out at a UBS battery. The estimated damage was $20 million and stocks plunged. It happened on a Saturday and the stock market opened on Monday. Within 10 minutes, it lost $2.5 billion,” Yi said.

He recommended that the Cambodian government focus on developing human resource improvement programs by providing incentives to recruit civil servants.

“You have invested in these people and you still have to provide some incentives so that you have them work for you, protecting your critical infrastructure. Provide R and D funds for them, so they can develop new technologies,” he added.

A shortage

A recent ISC Square report identified information security officers as those who spend more than 25 percent of their working hours in cybersecurity. It stated that globally there are 4.9 million people employed as cybersecurity officers. However, demand has increased to more than eight million, leaving a huge gap.

“In 2022, information security increased to 11 percent. So, there are 4.6 million people working as information security officers. Also demand has increased. We require more than eight million people. There is a shortage of more than three million information security officers. We need 74 percent more information security officers than today,” he mentioned.

Yi said providing free training and entry-level certification serves as an incentive to push human resource improvements.

panel discussion ‘Cybersecurity in Digital Economy and Society. Kiripost via CTX
panel discussion ‘Cybersecurity in Digital Economy and Society. Kiripost via CTX

Ou Phannarith, Director of ICT Security, MPTC, said there are fewer computers nowadays using a legal Windows operating license. This leaves their systems vulnerable as a rise in hacking programs mean an increase in risk of attack.

Ky Senghak, Head of Information Security at Sathapana Bank, said users’ bad habits often leave them open to attacks by hackers. Therefore, educating users to have better knowledge of how to use safety and other protection tools is essential.

“We need to educate them, provide security awareness to them, and make sure they do not fall down sometimes. So, we have to make sure that we have good people, and good users as well,” Senghak added.

The top three crimes the bank faces are identity force, identity hijacking, and financial fraud,

Chhim Vorleak, Head of Data Protection Department at ACLEDA Bank, mentioned that fast development and fast adoption of technology, while citizens lack knowledge, are challenges for protecting cyber security.

“Cybersecurity and technology is quite new to Cambodia. Our officers, our staff, still experience the issue. Human error is a common thing when we combat crime,” Vorleak said.

Cambodia’s internet penetration rate stood at 78.8 percent of the total population at the start of 2022. “There were 13.44 million internet users in Cambodia in January 2022,” stated DataReportal, which sources directly from third parties.