Stepping up online security

National 4 minutes, 28 seconds


CYBER Security continues to dominate headlines globally in 2014, especially as incidents of hacking and cyber spying have become commonplace.

This year, several high-profile names and companies were hacked and their security exposed. Closer to home, _The Brunei Times _website has also been the target of several hackers.

A System Administrator at the newspaper company said that throughout the year its website has only been successfully hacked twice, once late last month and another in the past few days.

No high-profile cases were reported this year, and this is reflected in the efforts that the agencies involved have made this year, so let us look back at the highlights this year.

Raising Awareness

The relevant agencies this year continued their efforts in raising awareness of the dangers present on the internet to children, as they have in the previous years.

However, the focus has slowly shifted to include parents as well.

The current generation of children has matured alongside the development of technology, and is more commonly referred to as the “digital natives”.

On the other hand, most of their parents and adults in general are digitally illiterate, and too trusting of their children with technology, not knowing that their children are being targeted by cyber criminals.

Being the most at-risk group, children need to be protected from these criminals online, and it is the responsibility of parents first and foremost to do that.

Senior Manager of the Information Security Unit at Authority for Info-communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam (AITI), Hj Zailani Hj Abd Malik, said that parents need be more aware of cyber security and monitor the online activity of their children.

Hj Zailani added that parents need to teach themselves the different types of cyber crime so that they are able to monitor their children’s activity intelligently.

COP National Framework

One step taken by AITI to protect young and vulnerable children from becoming victims by making them aware of the dangers they might face on the internet is to introduce the Child Online Protection (COP) National Framework.

The COP Framework has been in developments since 2012 with the collaboration of several agencies and was launched and handed over to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports in March earlier this year.

At the handing-over ceremony, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AITI said, “the government had undertaken several measures to develop the framework, including recent amendments to legislation to criminalise ‘sexual grooming’ by online predators”.

Last month, MCYS held a public forum involving students from 20 schools in the Belait district, where online safety and the development of the recently established Cop Committee under the ministry were discussed.

Bolstering Cybercrime Laws

A counsel from the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) mentioned during this year’s National Cyber Security Awareness Week that laws should be continuously reviewed to reflect the nature of cybercrimes.

Christopher Ng, deputy public prosecutor at the Special Duties Unit of AGC’s Criminal Justice Division, said cyber crimes have evolved and that criminals are “using new vectors of attacks and harnessing and adopting latest technologies”.

In his presentation, Ng mentioned that some laws have been updated to counter the growing cybercrime threats. On the other hand, certain cybercrimes such as cyber stalking, online harassment and phishing are currently not appropriately covered by the law, he added.

However, he said that AGC is facing some challenges in their bid to update the existing laws. One those challenges are the shortage of experience as it requires specialisation. “One is required to understand all of the technical aspects involved in dealing with cyber crimes,” said Ng.

Nature of Cybercrimes

Assistant investigation police officer mentioned that it has become a trend among Bruneians to defame former lovers by uploading obscene photos.

Familawati Mohsin of the Women and Children Abuse Investigation Unit said that there have been reported cases of vengeful lovers posting compromising photos in an attempt to damage the image of their former lover.

She also advised students and children to be wary of the people they meet online.

In one reported case, a 12-year-old victim was randomly added by a man who introduced himself as a 19-year-old. When they met, the man turned out to be a 35-year-old married man with four children.

Regional Cooperation

In October, Brunei hosted the annual conference of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation-Computer Emergency Response Team (OIC-CERT) at The Rizqun International Hotel in Gadong.

The conference aims to foster global cyber security through international cooperation among members in mitigating cyber threats, in the form of panel discussions and dialogue that focus on current and proposed cyber security policies, strategies and initiatives.

It featured international experts to lead discussions on latest technologies and trends relevant to cyber security, such as cloud computing and big data.

Shamsul Bahri Hj Kamis, CEO of ITPSS Sdn Bhd and BRUCert, said during the conference that organisations should be aware of cyber threats, and appreciate that better preparedness to face them makes both business and operational sense.

He added that the degree of preparedness should cover both financial aspects and manpower requirements, especially as there are fewer cyber security professionals at the moment.

Shamsul Bahri said that policies and frameworks must be communicated to employees in a very effective manner and not just formulated, and encouraged the design and implementation of creative awareness and outreach programmes for their stakeholders.

The Brunei Times