You are on page 1of 11

Lt Col Hamidi bin Achin was commissioned to the Royal Signals Regiment on 29 Jul

1989. He has served in various appointments in Malaysian Armed Forces as well as in


different positions in Malaysian Army. He holds Diploma in Computer Science (Universiti
Teknologi MARA), BSc Software Engineering and MSc in Information Security (Universiti
Teknologi Malaysia), and Master of Defence Studies (National University of Bangladesh).

ABSTRACT

ASEAN is a region of immense economic opportunities, set to become the fourth largest
single market after the EU, US, and China by 2030. It is a hub for many economic sectors
such as banking, e-commerce, transportation and telecommunications. As ASEAN grows,
her digital connectivity has likewise improved, which increases the risk of cyber attacks
capable of impacting ASEAN community. This study highlights the risk of cyber attacks, and
the need for regional cooperation; as this issue cannot be properly managed independently
by individual states. The aim of this study is to analyse the reasons why despite all these
risks of attacks, ASEAN has yet to develop adequate tools or mechanisms covering regional-
wide measures on cybersecurity issues. Therefore, the objectives of the study are (1) to
examine the factors that affecting ASEAN’s ability to develop a credible regional-wide
measures to curb cybersecurity issues, (2) to identify the factors that can facilitate ASEAN
member states to develop collective cybersecurity strategies, whilst competing for national
interests, (3) to analyze the considerations behind developing cybersecurity initiatives that
would be suitable for regional security cooperation. The research was conducted using
a qualitative approach whereby, secondary data from available literature and websites
were used interchangeably with primary data, which were obtained from relevant industry
personnel; via face to face and e-mail interviews. The findings of the study suggest that the
requirement of a credible mechanism for ASEAN in managing cybersecurity regionally.
This study demonstrated that selective coordination approach should be adopted by ASEAN
after considering the variables, such as the gap between the individual states’ cybersecurity
capabilities, sovereignty issues, and severity of the cyber threats in ASEAN member states.
20
02
21
03
22
02
23
03
ASEAN CYBERSECURITY INITIATIVES: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
TOWARDS REGIONAL SECURITY COOPERATION STRATEGI
JOURNAL OF STRATEGIC STUDIES AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

the Asia Pacific was created with the objective to overcome the challenge of
maintaining a trusted network of computer security experts in the Asia Pacific region.
This would be to improve the regionÕsawareness and competency related to computer
security-related issues. For a minimum level of coordinated cybersecurity effort, it is
necessary for the whole world to have at least minimum level of cyber capacity (Pawlak
2014).

CYBER TECHNICAL CAPABILITIES

The growing demand for new knowledge to help manage the transition process towards
a sustainable future further reinforces the relevance of cyberspace in the process, and
its implications to the other trajectories of security and sustainability. To increase the
likelihood of the anticipated shift toward knowledge-intensive sustainability solutions,
and in a situation of relatively underdeveloped scientific and technological foundations
for sustainable development, it is important that existing knowledge of all types be
readily accessible to interested communities everywhere. The sustainable knowledge
must be complemented by the adequate cyber technical capabilities, as understanding
the severity of the issue will not be enough. Although cautionary measures can be taken,
there would be a need for the technical capabilities to be sufficient in dealing with
potential cybersecurity issues. Over time, we expect access to cyber venues to reinforce
the synergy and to improve performance along the cyber and the sustainability
trajectories. Therefore, ASEAN needs cybersecurity expertise to cooperate with the
member states.

Country Score Global Rank


Singapore 0.925 1
Malaysia 0.893 3
Thailand 0.684 20
The Philippines 0.594 37
Brunei Darussalam 0.524 53
Indonesia 0.424 70
Cambodia 0.283 92
Myanmar 0.263 100
ietnam 0.245 101

Figure 1 lobal ybersecurity ndex 2017


Source: Global Cybersecurity Index 2017 ( T 2017)

eferring to Figure 1, T had conducted a formula that took into consideration


the merits of average internet speed, facilities to govern the modern application of daily
conducts, and other variables relevant to score the members of the international
community on their lobal ybersecurity ndex ( ). The global rank as mentioned
24
02

23
25
03
26
02
27
03
28
02
29
03
Dr Sufian Jusoh is an External Fellow of the World Trade Institute (WTI), University
of Bern, Switzerland. He is a Senior Fellow at Institute of Malaysian and International
Studies (IKMAS) Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and a Distinguished Fellow at the
Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations, Malaysia. Dr Sufian is an Investment
Law and Policy Expert at the World Bank and ASEAN. He is also the current Chairman
of the Africa-Asia Expert Group on the Customary International Law.   Dr Sufian is a
Barrister-at-Law of Lincoln’s Inn, holds an LL.B from Cardiff Law School, an LL.M
(Merit), University College London and a Doctor in Law (summa Cum Laude) from the
University of Bern, Switzerland. Dr Sufian’s expertise is in international trade, international
investment and intellectual property management. He coordinates WTI’s consultancy and
training programmes in the field of international trade and investment in Southeast Asia.
Dr Sufian has been a consultant in many countries and international organisations. These
include the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the World Intellectual
Property Organisation, APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Biotechnology, Asian
Development Bank, World Bank and ASEAN. He has authored several books and journal
articles.
30
02