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Symantec’s Cybersecurity Expert Urges Thailand to Ramp Up It’s Data Protection

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BANGKOK – A Symantec’s cybersecurity expert has urged Thailand to ramp up its data-protection efforts due to the growing risk of theft as hackers become more sophisticated.

Rattipong Putthachareon, a systems engineer with Symantec (Thailand) Co, warned that the country is at now at considerable risk of seeing people’s personal data pilfered.

“In Thailand, 60-70% of organisations have already beefed up their cybersecurity by installing defensive programs. However, only 10-20% of what is needed in terms of proper protection has been put in place to safeguard our personal privacy,” he said on Friday.

Mr Rattipong was speaking at the start of a two-day international conference in Bangkok titled, “Cybersecurity: Implications on Peace and Security in the Asean Region”.

He told the Bangkok Post that Thailand still trailed many countries in terms of cybersecurity regulations and investments.

“The United States and [Europe] have already passed laws and innovated data protection systems,” he said, adding that in Asean, “Singapore has adopted tighter cybersecurity measures to win over its foreign trading partners”.

The kingdom ranked seventh last year out of 10 countries in Asia-Pacific for its vulnerability to cyberthreats.

“Our data is vulnerable. With the help of AI and machine learning, hackers can penetrate systems to steal our information more easily. Besides, some dishonest companies sell customers’ data without their consent,” he said.

He urged Thailand to set up more basic infrastructure to address the problem.

“Thais are already using cloud technology to store and access information on the internet, but we are forgetting to devise ways to protect our personal data. Moreover, we have yet to develop [highly skilled] personnel in the [data] security industry,” he added.

Chaisiri Anamarn, an adviser to the Foreign Ministry, advised Asean member countries to do more to combat ransomware, phishing, and other online scams such as e-markets peddling illegal goods and services.

As the current Asean chair, Thailand plans to promote the establishment of more cyber centres within the regional bloc this year to further safeguard data, he said. Mr Chaisiri pointed to positive developments in this direction such as the inauguration last September of the Asean-Japan Cybersecurity Capacity Building Centre in Bangkok.

Edna Yap, a cyber partner at Deloitte Singapore, said current cybersecurity measures often fall woefully short of the mark. “In addition to data, cybercriminals are looking for financial gains and [often have a] political agenda. It is imperative that we come up with new protection systems,” she said.

Kevin O’Leary, chief security officer at Palo Networks, pointed to improved “cyber hygiene” as the tonic for the growing risk of security breaches.

“I suggested that users not put all [their] information on a cloud service. We are too exposed to attackers. You should know how to manage what data should be in the cloud,” he said.