Cy­ber se­cu­rity key for au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try growth

New Straits Times - - Business - The writer is the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Malaysia Au­to­mo­tive In­sti­tute.

EAR­LIER this month the world was rocked by the Wan­naCry cy­ber worm. Many of us, for the first time, heard of the term “ran­somware”. Most sig­nif­i­cant, it served as an eye opener for the ever-evolv­ing threats we face as we move into the fourth in­dus­trial rev­o­lu­tion — a fu­ture where con­nec­tiv­ity is at the very core of our daily lives.

To­day, a car pro­cesses a mas­sive amount of data. Its elec­tronic con­trol unit pro­cesses fuel in­jec­tion tim­ing, en­gine torque and load, ve­hi­cle speed, spark plug fir­ing, to name a few.

If we take a look at mid- to high­range mod­els in the mar­ket, con­sumers re­ceive even more on­board di­ag­nos­tics, in­clud­ing tyre pres­sure and fuel dis­tance, not to men­tion au­to­mated safety fea­tures, such as lane departure warn­ings and blind spot de­tec­tion.

Last year, 94 mil­lion cars were pro­duced world­wide. Imag­ine this num­ber grow­ing, with each con­nected to the other — telem­at­ics, user be­hav­iour, traf­fic flow pat­terns, en­gine op­er­a­tions and fuel con­sump­tion, all con­nected to servers around the world.

If we want to make con­nec­tiv­ity our fu­ture, we must move the cy­ber se­cu­rity agenda now.

While or­gan­i­sa­tions such as Cy­ber­Se­cu­rity Malaysia and the Malaysia Dig­i­tal Econ­omy Cor­po­ra­tion have reached tremen­dous in-roads in en­hanc­ing cy­ber se­cu­rity within the coun­try, keep­ing our cy­berspace free of at­tacks is ev­ery­body’s re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Wan­naCry is es­ti­mated to have af­fected 200,000 vic­tims with more than 230,000 com­put­ers in­fected. With such mas­sive dam­age, the pub­lic aware­ness lit­mus test is sim­ple. How many of us were aware of the at­tack? Sec­ond and most im­por­tant, how many among us have in­stalled the lat­est se­cu­rity patch on our op­er­at­ing sys­tem?

If the likely an­swer for most of us is blank, then the way for­ward is quite sim­ple — more must be done to raise pub­lic aware­ness of the need for cy­ber se­cu­rity.

While Malaysia Au­to­mo­tive In­sti­tute’s In­dus­try 4.0 ini­tia­tives have taken cy­ber se­cu­rity as one of the main pil­lars, a key na­tional agenda would be to in­crease par­tic­i­pa­tion of the pub­lic in on­line se­cu­rity ini­tia­tives.

Re­cent break­throughs in­clude adop­tion of strong multi-fac­tor au­then­ti­ca­tion, in which ac­cess is granted be­yond pass­words, re­quir­ing users to add an­other au­then­ti­ca­tion layer such as fin­ger­prints, reti­nal scans or voice ac­ti­va­tion.

With this in mind, lo­cal busi­nesses now face new op­por­tu­ni­ties cre­ated from such de­mand for on­line se­cu­rity.

While our do­mes­tic in­dus­try has the com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage of un­der­stand­ing the lo­cal mar­ket when it comes to se­cu­rity be­hav­iour, I urge more par­ties to seize this op­por­tu­nity to al­low lo­cally de­vel­oped cy­ber tech­nol­ogy to take cen­tre stage.

Lastly, it is high time that sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ments in cy­ber se­cu­rity pro­fes­sion­als and talent de­vel­op­ment is car­ried out.

Tech­nol­ogy may be the se­cu­rity en­abler, but at the end of the day, peo­ple are what mat­ter the most.

While or­gan­i­sa­tions such as

Cy­ber se­cu­rity Malaysia and the Malaysia Dig­i­tal Econ­omy Corp have reached tremen­dous in­roads in en­hanc­ing cy­ber se­cu­rity within the coun­try, keep­ing our cy­berspace free of at­tacks is ev­ery­body’s re­spon­si­bil­ity.


For its In­dus­try 4.0 ini­tia­tives, Malaysia Au­to­mo­tive In­sti­tute has made cy­ber se­cu­rity one of its main pil­lars.

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