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Gemalto warns against dangerous IT security complacency

Ross O. Storey | Jan. 23, 2009
The Asia Pacific lacks awareness of information security and personnel

SINGAPORE, 23 JANUARY 2009 - Digital security firm Gemalto has warned of the risks of the common complacency, across the Asia Pacific, about internet security, despite it being a hot region for phishing attacks'.

Gemalto says a key challenge for the region is the lack of awareness on the importance of IT security as well as the shortage of IT security personnel and related resources'.

Ng Fook Seng, Gemalto's Asia Senior Vice-President, Security Business, said the Asia Pacific market was facing constant digital security security threats, and this was coupled with the fast growing adoption for online banking. More than 25 per cent of retail customers are banking online, and there is more than a 21 per cent annual average growth of active e-banking users.

Ng said that, despite this, emerging countries, such as China and India are still premature in developing IT security measures'.

In the Asia Pacific, digital security is driven from a business perspective rather than via regulatory laws or standards set in the industry, he said. Moreover, the benefit of implementing digital security is not apparent in the short run. Hence, one of our major challenges would be to get our customers educated on the severity of cyber fraud, and the need to combat these threats.

From phishing, identity-thefts to hacking, Ng said that security threats were imminent as the frequency of digital transactions grows in our daily lives.

Channel partner network launch

Gemalto gave the warning with the Singapore launch of its Channel Partner Network, which, it said, represents a community of partners that creates solutions and services based on secure platforms that make everyday digital interactions secure and easy'.

The network enables members to broaden partners' business opportunities through exchanging information and leveraging worldwide technical support from Gemalto.

Ng said research showed the reasonably high probability of a phishing hit between 2004 and 2008 in some ASEAN members: Malaysia (1/78), Vietnam (1/81), Taiwan (1/95), Indonesia (1/99), Philippines (1/111).

The global success rate of phishing attack is usually around three per cent.

Australia, in particular, was becoming an increasingly attractive target for phishers. Taking Australia as an example, Ng said, there were seven million online banking users, which meant potentially 210,000 Australian bank accounts could be stolen.

If each of them loses A$1,000 in the account, that will amount to a total of A$210 million, he said.

According to the Unisys Security Index, Hong Kong residents cite security fears among one of the highest concerns particularly the fear of becoming victims of bank card fraud.

Government push

Government in Asia was actively driving implementation of the e-citizen services like e-identity cards, e-driving licenses, e-passports and e-health cards, according to Gemalto.


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