By Ma. Cristina C. Arayata

MANILA, March 21 (PNA) — In this digital age when one does so many things online, how can a person ensure his/her safety in using the cyberspace?

These days when people communicate, shop and do banking transactions online, how can they avoid falling victims of phishing and scams? How can they prevent their online accounts from getting hacked?

Cyber Security Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Dato Seri Panglima Mohd Azumi noted that ensuring cyber safety was not just about the equipment, but was about setting the standards, policy strategy and ethical use of the internet.

”Safety and security are intertwined, especially in the cyber world,” he said in a press conference held Tuesday in Manila.

Azumi cited that nations would continue to deal with cyber threats in the future. Among the current challenges, he said, was what’s deemed as cybercrime in a country might not be deemed as such in other nations.

Thus, there was a need to have a universal definition of what’s cybercrime and what was not, he said.

The latest scam, according to him, is ransomware. Basically, it is a computer malware that hacks the system. The hacker may disseminate the data, and ask the victim to pay if he/she wants the data back.

”In Malaysia, we’re teaching companies that cybersecurity is actually a shared responsibility. Addressing cyber threats must be from the top to bottom. The CEOs must be involved,” he said.

The chairman shared that in 2012, Malaysia lost MYR 1.6 billion due to cyber scam.

Resilience, education

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), Azumi noted the importance of cyber resilience and education to combat cyber threats.

”How do you educate people on the ethical use of the internet?” he remarked, adding that more and more people are engaging in social media.

Also, he noticed that cyber professionals in the Philippines are only few. “It’s just a small group, compared to the cyber professionals in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia,” he said.

Fighting cyber threats involves multilateral cooperation. He said Cyber Security Malaysia was coordinating with the Philippine Department of Information and Technology. “There is a exchange of information. If (for instance) there’s hacking that happens in the Philippines, the information can be passed on to Cyber Security Malaysia,” Azumi added.

Azumi emphasized that it would be good if a country can level up its cyber services.

He shared that Malaysia has a cyber security hotline, the Cyber999, which is open 24 hours. The country also provides a technical training program, and also teaches about digital forensics.

Some tips

As education is vital in the ethical use of the internet, Azumi shared with PNA three tips on how we can prevent hacking and identity theft.

* Do not keep your data in your phone.

Do not store your pins, birthdays, passwords, etc. in your phone, because when somebody gets it, the person can already use your information.

* Do not respond to scams.

Do not respond to scams posted in social media. If you receive a text message saying, ‘Congratulations! You won this amount,’ do not respond. When in doubt, you can report to the police.

* Use your pins and keep it a secret.

It’s also good to have a verification process, like in email accounts.

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