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Measures taken by Thailand to amp up its cybersecurity

As an increasing number of daily business activities move online, including advertising, selling, finding new markets, reaching out to customers, recruiting staff, communicating with customers and suppliers or even carrying out financial transactions, it is becoming increasingly important for Thailand to ensure that it is being protected from cybersecurity threats.

There are a number of cyberattacks that Thailand is vulnerable to. Denial-of-service (DOS), for example, is when a hacker is able to successfully prevent the authorised functionality of networks, systems, or applications by exhausting resources. Once the system is under such an attack, the hackers normally ask for a ransom or fee to regain access to files.

Malwares such as the Trojan horse is another example of a cyberattack. These are “deadly viruses” which are spread by email, instant messaging, malicious websites and infected non-malicious websites. A backdoor Trojan horse gives malicious users remote control over the infected computer. They enable the author to do anything they wish on the infected computer – including sending, receiving, launching and deleting files, displaying data and rebooting the computer.

A botnet, which is short for robot network, is an aggregation of compromised computers that are connected to a central “controller.” The compromised computers are often referred to as “zombies.” Botnets are designed to steal data. Botnet hackers have been improving their encryption capabilities and are thus becoming more difficult to detect and apprehend.

Plans to set up the Cybersecurity Agency in Thailand is therefore, well underway. The first preparatory meeting that was held in the beginning of May this year, highlighted the national plan and policy framework for cybersecurity, critical information structure and standard operating procedures and the plan to develop cybersecurity human resources.

The Minister of Digital Economy and society Pichet Durongkaveroj said that the new Cybersecurity Agency will act as the central coordinator to ensure that Thailand’s national cybersecurity reforms, conforms to the international standards. The ultimate purpose of the Cybersecurity Agency is to alleviate Thailand’s current ranking in the International Communication Union (ITU) Global Security Index. 

During the meeting the risks that the new Cybersecurity Agency would face were highlighted. The risks that were identified included reputational risks and operational risks. Reputational risks, which occurs when organisations succumb to cybersecurity breaches, are amongst the most damaging for the organisation as it undermines the attacked organisation’s incompetency. In order to mitigate these risks, the new cybersecurity agency will be collaborating with more critical infrastructure companies within Thailand, to strengthen the networks and prevent hacker penetration.

The new cyber security agency also hopes to overcome some of the challenges it will face including raising awareness amongst individuals. Raising awareness is very important when it comes to cybersecurity as major breaches and cybersecurity violations occur due to the unawareness of individuals. To overcome this challenge, the new Cybersecurity Agency plans to set up a Government Monitoring System Project, conduct incidents drills and set up a standard and accreditation body.

Although still in the beginning stages, the Cybersecurity Agency seems to be a promising initiative set up by the Thai Government to safeguard Thailand against cyberattacks.

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