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Cyber Threats Facing APAC – Government


According to report by Deloitte, Singapore, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea are the top five countries vulnerable to cyber attacks in APAC, with the stats showing them as nine times more vulnerable to cyber attacks relative to China and India. However, with the amplifying amount of cyber-attacks and a growing cyber-war in the region, organizations (primarily governmental) are waking up to the fact that they need a strong defence and means of protection against cyber security attacks.


Though, as the cyber security world is constantly evolving, many major government sites and databases are failing to keep up with the latest security trends and do not apply the proper protection to their assets; proving that, when breached, the damage can be colossal.

The personal data of millions was put at risk as seen in a recent hacking of the Kerala government’s website. The hacker brought light to a vulnerability in the website, and reported it to the Keralan government prior releasing the private personal data of over 34M Keralites on Facebook as a result of not receiving any answer.


As cyber-defence is a big topic in the region, some of APAC’s major countries are beginning to take one big step further into the offensive in the cyber-war battlefield as well.


The cyber war in the APAC region has been escalating greatly in the past few years, where cyber-conflict and nation-state launched cyber attacks have become so frequent, and through non-violent, have the potential to turn into a major cyber-war.


Cyberwar APAC


A territorial dispute in the South China Sea revolves around a series of cyber-attacks and breaches between China and the Southeast Asian nations involved. The dispute first started in 2012, a time of heightened geopolitical tensions in the South Chinese Sea, and with each rise in tension comes a wave of cyber-attacks.


This past July, just as a the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled against China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, at least 68 national and local government websites in the Philippines went dark in a massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.


Later in the summer of 2016, it came to light that the attack on Vietnam Airlines – where their systems were breached, letting hackers expose the personal information of 400,000 of its frequent-flyer club members – was another chapter in the series of hacks and attacks in connection to the dispute.



The long string of cyber attacks between North Korea and South Korea and the seamlessly never ending cyber tension between India and Pakistan are both additional examples of the existing cyber-war in APAC. And as we advance to 2017, the tension is predicted to continue escalating. This leads to a looming question following us into the new year – what are the rules of a cyber-war?


While the world as a whole disputes and attempts to come to a conclusion, a strong emphasis should be put on application security from the start. As more governments push towards a connected world, that potential cyber-battlefield expands.
While the coming political, hacktivist, and government-backed cyber-attacks may be inevitable to the coming future, the key to a strong defence lies in following the latest security trends and starting from the source which would be the application code. Using a source code analysis solution ensures that the applications built are vulnerability-free during the initial stages of a development lifecycle, and can prevent breaches – no matter whom from – by establishing secure code.

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This is part 2 of a 3 part series.

Click here to read part 1: Cyber Threats Facing APAC – Finance 



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Arden Rubens

Social Media Manager & Content Writer at Checkmarx
Arden is the social media manager and a content writer at Checkmarx. Her blogs focus on cyber security trends and the latest developments in the world of AppSec. She aims to educate and inspire developers, security professionals, and organizations to find the best defense against online threats.

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