25 May 2006 | 5,820 views

South-East Asia Vulnerable to Cyber Terrorism

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Interesting to see this just a little while after Malaysia announced IMPACT, it’s anti cyber-terrorist task force..

IMPACT is its name, and making an impact in the battle against cyber-terrorism is its mission. Unveiled in Austin, Texas, the Malaysian initiative seeks to bring together governments and the international private sector to deal with increasing threats in cyberspace.

Known as the “International multilateral partnership against cyber-terrorism” or “IMPACT” it will serve as a pioneer platform to allow governments of the world to exchange notes and ideas, as well as to facilitate the sharing of skills and best practices, with the ultimate objective of combating these constantly evolving threats.

Now, this report conviently surfaces.

Southeast Asia will inevitably face an Internet-based attack by terrorists against key institutions, even though militant groups lack the technical savvy so far, security experts said Monday.

Developing nations remain especially vulnerable to a cyber assault because they haven’t built up defences for their computer, banking and utility systems, said Yean Yoke Heng, deputy director general of the Kuala Lumpur-based Southeast Asian Regional Center for Counterterrorism.

Well, seems reasonable to assume the above, but what effects would it have? This region isn’t heavily online, the broadband penetration is low and the system isn’t ‘e-government’ yet.

Regional authorities currently have no specific information about possible threats, which could include the hacking of public networks or the spread of a computer virus, but “it’s always good to be one step ahead of this terrorist threat,” Yean said.

The five-day conference, which brings together security officials and analysts from Malaysia, the United States, Japan, Cambodia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, will discuss how governments can prevent terrorists from exploiting information technology.

It seems like terrorist cell groups use the net to recruit, plan and research attacks.

So far, Southeast Asian militant groups such as the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah network have mainly used the Internet to channel propaganda, recruit members, raise funds and coordinate bomb attacks, said Rohan Gunaratna, a Singapore-based militant expert.

“It will take a very long time for Southeast Asian terrorist groups to develop the capability to attack the Internet,” Gunaratna said.

“For now, groups such as Jemaah Islamiyah are using the Internet as a medium to create a new generation of radicalised Muslims.”

Its a good idea in theory, we just need to see if they have the technical skill to pull anything off, judging by the Malaysian CERT..I’d say no.

Source: The Star



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