Public-private cybersecurity agendas must converge to improve online security

Cybersecurity in the Ministry of Defence, UK. Credit: Flickr/UK Ministry of Defence

Governments and the private sector must align their agendas in tackling cybercrime and managing cybersecurity, urged international security experts Lance James and Alastair Newton at the World Capital Markets Symposium 2015, which was held from 3 September 2015 to 4 September 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

James is an international information security specialist and US strategic cybersecurity, with more than 15 years of experience in programming, network security, digital forensics, malware research, cryptography design, cryptanalysis, counterintelligence and protocol exploitation, advising government agencies and large corporations on cybersecurity.

Newton spent 20 years as a career diplomat with the British Diplomatic Service, including during the Gulf War period, working on intelligence coordination, policy planning and economic relations.

The global experts jointly issued a call to counter the fear and overreaction (by the public and investors) surrounding cyberattacks and online security issues. “The critical infrastructure in the West and in Asia, is largely owned by the private sector. We need to work out a more effective liaison between governments and the private sector,” said Newton, an experienced political analyst.

According to Newton, a mismatch of debate and a lack of cohesion existed among governments and corporations, as well as internet service providers (ISPs).

Commenting on this, he said, “It’s a megaphone diplomatic dialogue. It doesn’t stop countries like Russia from rolling out hybrid warfare – cyberhacking and propaganda.”

James stated that the main problem was industries attempting to drive fear among online users, to create a demand for their cybersecurity products and services amongst consumers. “We have to be careful with that, fear is driving us to be reactive. We need to start thinking strategically about how we are going to tackle these issues,” said James.

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A major issue highlighted was the negligible progress seen in identifying the problems, defining the solutions and creating the action plans needed to move forward in resolving and addressing cyberspace attacks and cyber-vulnerabilities.

Newton said that unlike chemical warfare, there were no international rules of the game in cyberwarfare. “And because of that we got ourselves (a situation) where the US administration is threatening sanctions on China (for their cyberattacks), for which we do not have any idea of consequences,” he said.

James pointed out that “cyber is the gunpowder of today” against organisations and the crucial need for companies to maintain a clear idea of their  threat environment and possible adversaries in the cybersphere, citing a need for an offensive strategy based around collecting pre-emptive intelligence.

Newton urged for the creation of a dialogue regarding this subject and a a strong need that it be driven by the investors, citing a $1 trillion loss when the US’ national grid were attack by cyber warfare.

Commenting on such cybersecurity threats, Newton explained: “Investors need to be asking questions of the corporates which they are investing in. They need directors to be accountable. The tendency in the corporate sector is to cover up (a cyberattack), until and unless it goes into the public domain.”

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.