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M'sia must develop own IT security to reduce risk

Local university professor says relying on foreign-made software carry risk of data leaks and intelligence breaches, and urges Malaysian government to establish strong cyberdefence system.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

Malaysia must build its own IT security software to reduce the risk of data leaks and intelligence breaches from relying on foreign software.

In an interview with local news wire Bernama, Ramlan Mahmod, dean professor of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Computer Science and Information Technology Faculty, said cyberattacks could occur covertly in the country as there is currently a lack of understanding of logic streams used in the source codes of oversea-made security software.

Ramlan said: "At the moment, there is no software capable of checking the source code of software to ensure the software used is confirmed safe. For the realization of this [segment of] IT, the country needs to acquire 'technical knowhow' in information security and expertise in various fields such as computer science, mathematics and engineering."

To acquire such expertise, he suggested Malaysia implement foundation work including training more experts in IT and importing more external technologies in the country.

Cyberattacks could occur when data is being transmitted or when hackers infiltrate storage systems that contain confidential data, he said, adding that information is encrypted or hidden to prevent such attacks.

"This is the basis of information and software development important to ensure our cyber defence," he noted.

Ramlan said the Malaysian government must play a major role to establish a strong cyberdefence system because this requires financial commitment, expertise, legislation and continuous monitoring.

"Cyber security is the same as national security involving many operational aspects such as prevention, defense, detecting, intelligence and attack," he added. "It also needs sophisticated technical knowledge in information security and continuous upgrading of capability considering hackers are also improving their attacks."

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