PUTRAJAYA: The Covid-19 pandemic has made people more digitally connected and dependent as well as more vulnerable, as they are exposed to cyberattack risks, said Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin.

He said digital services such as data centres, cloud systems and servers that employees use for communication are becoming more vital but are faced by threats in cyberspace, as perpetrators are encouraged to exploit them.

“The same internet that we use for work purposes and social interaction is also facing increasing risk. The internet is indeed a double-edged sword,” said Zahidi in his speech at the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation-Computer Emergency Response Team (OIC-CERT) 12th Annual Conference 2020, conducted virtually today.

He said statistics on cybersecurity incidents reported by CyberSecurity Malaysia from January to October this year, recorded 9,042 incidents, with 6,459 or 71% involving fraud.

“Fraud involving social engineering intrusion recorded 1,101 incidents or 12% of total incidents while malicious code had 502 incident reports which contributed 5.5%,” he said.

Other incidents include intrusion attempts, spams, denial of service, vulnerabilities report, cyber harassment, and content related threats.

On another note, Zahidi said OIC-CERT as a regional computer emergency response team is on the right track to mitigate cyber threats in the region with its six strategic pillars, namely organisation structure, international cooperation, standards and regulation, technical and technology, capacity building and awareness.

“I believe that these holistic pillars will assist OIC-CERT community greatly in the years to come, by developing their capabilities in facing cyber threats and being ready for current and future challenges in the cyber world,“ he said.

According to World Internet Users Statistics for 2020, the estimated number of OIC internet users was approximately one billion, about 20% of the estimated 4.9 billion global internet users, he said.

Hence, he said OIC-CERT membership would grant access to global networking that promotes strategic cooperation and new ventures with CERT communities around the world.

“Membership will also provide opportunity for resource and information sharing. For instance, it will provide a platform for resource collaboration in research and development in the area of cyber security.

“Membership to the OIC-CERT will also offer assistance to members in establishing CERTs by providing technical expertise and policy advice,“ he said.

This year’s two-day conference themed “Cyber Security Strategies and Practices During Covid-19 Crisis” is being hosted by CyberSecurity Malaysia as the OIC-CERT permanent secretariat.

The annual conference is a continuous initiative by OIC-CERT to enhance cybersecurity awareness through international cooperation among it members and other information security organisations. — Bernama