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Rising data leaks in Malaysia causing monetary, reputation loss: KPMG

AvantiKumar | Sept. 11, 2009
Twenty-two reported cases up to July 2009, says analyst firm

KUALA LUMPUR, 11 SEPTEMBER 2009 The number of data leaks, which cause monetary and reputation loss, is continuing to rise in Malaysia, according to analyst firm KPMG Malaysia.

During an awareness programme held by the analyst firm and security solutions firm Trend Micro (Malaysia), partner in charge on IT advisory services for KPMG, Paul Bahnisch said in the first seven months of 2009, there were already 22 cases reporting loss of personal and business data amounting to a monetary loss of US$233,090.

These are just reported cases, a lot more go unseen and unheard due to companies wanting to protect their image, said Bahnisch.

To date, most cases reported are theft or personal data. Imagine these losses multiplied a few hundred times and that is the risk organisations face if they lose their sensitive information, he said.

The most vulnerable is, of course, the finance industry, which holds credit card details, bank account numbers, personal information and so on in their customer databases, he added. Another vulnerable area includes companies involved in R&D, designing or manufacturing. Their essential data would involve proprietary formulas, blueprints or product designs which determine their market value.

Attractive business information

Perpetrators are no longer out just to crash the PC like years ago, he said. Now, it's more of getting valuable data that can be sold for profit so data loss has been put into the limelight now because business information is very attractive and can yield high returns.

Lost information can provide the criminals with market intelligence, business contacts, loss of intellectual property, faster delivery of products/services compared to the affected party or, in most cases, purely to defame and discredit the company, said IT security vendor Trend Micro's regional sales director, Wong Joon Hoong.

Wong and Bahnisch said leaks could also occur from unintentional incidents with employees who lose their laptops with company information stored in it, hard disc crashes, private and confidential data e-mailed to the wrong person, accidental deletion of files, and the storing of information on a common thumb drive.

Our efforts are to help companies look into their data and clearly identify what is confidential, how much of losses will be incurred due to leaks of this data, what level of access is currently in place, who is accessing this information, why is it accessed and who it goes out to, said Wong.

Our IT advisory arm has joined with Trend Micro to help corporates in Malaysia understand the importance of protecting intellectual property and public information stored within their organisation, said KPMG's Bahnisch.


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