Data Holds the Golden Key of the Future

By Thulasyammal Ramiah Pillai

Senior Lecturer, Taylor’s University

Products, businesses, healthcare, automobiles, education, the environment, and many more other areas exploit the data to shape their future. Data literacy is the mother of necessity in the future as the world has progressively achieved digital literacy.

Apple’s sleep tracking application of the Apple watch and the smart cars with various sensors tracking user behaviour utilising the generated data. Business analytics uses the data to make decisions for companies.

Patient care data can be utilised to offer patients with wholesome care, share information to improve patient health and assist in diagnosis.

The automobile manufacturers must have a robust supply chain of the components of the cars. Furthermore, this industry manufactures data-driven smart cars, and their predictive analysis facilitates the automotive industry to ensure better maintenance of the vehicle.

Educational data implements the educational process, producing outputs that include student progress, success, achievement, and personalised guidance.

Meanwhile, environmental data has been an important tool in combating climate change. The customer financial and preferential data enable the businesses to market their products and services to the targeted customers.

These are the factors highlighting that the world is moving fast towards a data driven world.

Facets of Data

These different sets of data had been described as big data, fast data, and actionable data.

Big data contains greater variety, volumes, velocity, intrinsic value, and veracity. Fast data promotes real-time interactions.

International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that 30% of the global data will be real-time by 2025. Actionable data bridges the gap between big data and business value. This data can be processed and analysed to extract meaningful insights. There are various tools to process and analyse these data.

Tools and Skills

1.      Data Pre-processing Tools

Data fabric is the data integration and management solution. Its components are unified architecture, and software that allows consumers to integrate data from multiple sources which facilitates seamless access and data sharing from a distributed network.

Augmented data management utilises AI to automatically regulate metadata, data quality, database administration and data consolidation. This helps the workers to be more productive, reduce manual tasks and reduce human error in the workplace.

2.      Analytics Tools

Descriptive Analytics describes the data using numerical measures, tables and graphs using various data visualisation techniques.

Predictive analytics predicts future events using historical data, statistical and mathematical modelling, data mining methods and machine learning algorithms.

Prescriptive analytics analyses data and offers recommendations on how to optimise business practices to match the predicted outcomes.

X analytics trains and tests any type of analytics on structured and unstructured data, no matter where or in what format that data resides (Gartner).

Augmented analytics provides instant AI-powered insights by using natural language processing, and machine learning algorithms to produce data-driven solutions.

3.      Intelligence Tools

Continuous Intelligent channels real-time analytics into business operations, processing data, analysing incoming data against historical data, and offering innovative ideas instantaneously.

Business Intelligence makes data-driven decisions, using business analytics, visualisation, and infrastructure to optimize the performance of a business.

Explainable AI visualizes a model and explains the advantages, disadvantages and how it performs in a situation. Explainable AI builds the trust of the consumers.

Digitization and Digitalization

Digitization and digitalization have been accelerated by the pandemic in the data driven world.

Digitization is the process of changing analogue processes into digital form. Digitalization uses technology to innovate and reinvent the products and services.

The “Digital Transformation” uses the technology to enhance and restructure the business framework. Gartner projects that, by the end of 2024, 75% of organisations will fizzle out from pilot programs and will bring about full-fledged big data strategies.

This paradigm shift will increase the streaming data and analytics facilities at the rate of 500%.

Hence, MDEC has been assisting the companies in Malaysia with their digital transformation plans via eRezeki, Global Online Workforce, Go eCommerce and Malaysia Digital Hub.

Skills Needed

The top 3 scarcest skills needed for the “Digital Transformation” are data analytics, security, and AI. Hence, Taylors’ University has been producing graduates with these skills to support the MDEC initiatives.

Taylors’ University undergraduate and postgraduate students had designed and developed various AI products. The postgraduate students had developed predictive models to quantify the health impact of Malaysian citizen due to air pollution in collaboration with Ministry of Health Malaysia (MoH).

The undergraduate students had developed various applications for the industry via their final year project namely Facial Recognition Hotel Check in Application, Online assessment in educational System, Pocket-Money tracking Application, Teaching Statistics through Gaming and many more.

The undergraduate students also do their data science and data analytics projects in their Statistics and Data Science Principles modules.

Every organization is packed with data that should be exploited intelligently to stay competitive in the market. Data holds the golden key of the future for the sustainable development of any organisation.

Author’s Profile

A 27-year experienced lecturer, fully committed as an academic professional who has deeply moved oneself in lecturing and tutoring students from various social and cultural backgrounds at higher institutions.

She is specialised in Applied Statistics. She has acquired a deep understanding in Data Analytics and Machine Learning.

Currently she is experimenting the application of gamification in the teaching and learning of Mathematics and Statistics.

She is involved in a multi-disciplinary research group in the field of Data Analytics, Big Data, IoT, AI, Health, Environment, Transportation, Travel Behaviour, Smart Sustainable Cities and Business.

Video Games Market in Germany

After China, US, Japan and South Korea, Germany is the world’s fifth largest gaming market. The country’s gaming industry was reported to generate roughly USD 6 billion in revenue for year 2020, with 34 million players daily. In Germany, there are 651 gaming studios and publishers, as well as 128 colleges with game-related courses.
Observation/Opportunity

The annual Gamescom in Cologne is the world’s largest video gaming expo in terms of attendance. Computer and video games are played by more than half of Germans. Between the ages of 6 and 69, 58% of the population uses a console, PC, or smartphone to immerse themselves in the digital world. Additionally, 5% more people in Germany began playing computer and video games in 2020.

COVID-19 had led to people staying at home and playing video games instead of going out. In 2020, the value of video games was reported to increase by 21%. The number of Virtual Reality (VR) headsets available continues to grow, with higher price points and better-quality entry-level devices. With a 13% value share in 2020, Nintendo of Europe GmbH continues in the lead. In 2024, the market for video games is predicted to grow to EUR4.7 billion.

In Germany, video games were expected to expand by double digit in value in 2021, mainly due to growth in console games (digital), mobile games and internet games, as well as AR/VR headsets. While the increased demand for online and mobile games can be attributed to the extra time spent at home as a result of the epidemic, it is also
attributed to the growing trend of consumers willing to spend on games.

The Way Forward

The German games industry is mainly concentrated in the country’s major cities, with Hamburg and Berlin emerging as hotspots in recent years. Munich, Frankfurt, Cologne and Düsseldorf where most game creators and publishers are headquartered, are other economic centres for the games industry.

Sales of static consoles recorded an upward trend towards the end of 2020, contributed by new console releases from Sony and Microsoft, as well as increasing consumer demand over the holiday season. However, value sales were down due to temporary supply problems, but are expected to catch up in 2021.

When it comes to video game software, there is a trend in Germany to buy digital games. Video game software (physical) retained a considerable portion of the industry in 2020, but sales were significantly impacted by the pandemic because of store closures and consumers opting for digital forms.

For further information and enquiries, please contact MATRADE Frankfurt at [email protected]

Note 1:
This article is based on Market Alert (MA) prepared by MATRADE Frankfurt and the information is
correct at the time of the writing (25 November 2021).

Note 2:
The MA is available in MyExport which can be accessed at www.matrade.gov.my

Disclaimer
While every effort has been taken to ensure that the contents of the article (MATRADE’s Insight) are accurate and current, MATRADE cannot be held responsible for any inclusion, omission or error and is not liable for any loss or dispute arising from the use of the information provided.

The Adoption of FinTech during COVID-19 Pandemic in Malaysia

By Associate Professor Dr. Melissa Teoh Teng Tenk & Associate Professor Dr. Angeline Yap Kiew Heong

HELP University

FinTech is derived from the words “Finance” and “Technology”. With innovation and advancement in technology, the incorporation of technology in financial products and services help to improve efficiency and productivity when servicing the clients.

FinTech is also inclusive of mobile payment apps, online banking services and cryptocurrency backed by the Blockchain technology among others.

Digital payment and financial services have recently become increasingly popular during the current COVID-19 pandemic as cashless sales and purchases are promoted to cut down the risk of virus infection.

Presently, the most used cashless payment methods are credit/debit cards, internet banking, while eWallet emerges to become a new trend of mobile payment resulting from the pandemic.

Compared to traditional payment methods, the contactless nature of electronic payment methods enables customers to maintain social distancing and prevent both direct and indirect contacts from the cash transaction process.

This aspect enables customers to formulate their opinions based on the perceived physical and mental advantages of personal security and offers practicality and convenience when employing electronic payment technology as an alternative approach for financial transactions during the pandemic.

Consequently, online purchase of perishable and non-perishable goods, online food ordering, banking transactions become a norm among consumers.

This change has impacted our present daily lives, therefore FinTech is a highly needed and effective approach during this physically isolating period, and given that, its demand is escalating in Malaysia.

In view of this growing trend, the authors and students at HELP University conducted a survey in June 2021 to examine the factors that influence the adoption behaviours of FinTech services among the Malaysian households.

The survey looks at the influence of perceived ease of use, perceived usefulness, social influence, perceived enjoyment, security concern, and personal innovativeness on the intention to adopt FinTech

Intention to adopt is defined as the inclination to engage with an object based on an individual’s acceptance and understanding of the new­ object. The intention to adopt technologies is influenced by numerous factors.

Data showed that as high as 90.9 percent of the survey respondents strongly agreed or agreed to continue using the FinTech services.

Perceived ease of use is identified as how trouble-free and easy a new technology would be to acquire and operate for a new user.

More than 50 percent of the respondents agreed that the FinTech services are straight forward, clear, and understandable.

Perceived usefulness is the belief towards the advancement of their job using technology. The results showed that more than 50 percent of the respondents found FinTech useful and allowed them to accomplish their financial tasks quicker.

Social influence describes the degree of individuals’ FinTech behavioural intention is influenced by social groups, their peers and group’s culture. This experience is especially significant when they face unfamiliar technology.

Results showed that more than 50 percent of the respondents found that their adoption of FinTech is influenced by peers and family around them, while 25.2 percent to 35.8 percent of the respondents were neutral to the social influences.

Perceived enjoyment is a subjective psychological pleasure stemming from the use of new technology. Perceived enjoyment knowingly affects user satisfaction and acts as a motivator which influences an individual’s acceptance of information technology that notably drives user satisfaction.

More than 50 percent of the respondents agreed that their experience of FinTech adoption is pleasant. Between 22.7 percent to 28.8 percent of the respondents were neutral about the enjoyment of using FinTech.

Security concerns are about the concern of privacy and security issues when using electronic services, which translate as how safe is the individuals’ private information being exposed to unfriendly parties when using the FinTech services.

Results showed that between 38.5 percent to 59.4 percent of the respondents were alarmed that security issues affect their FinTech adoption, while 37 percent to 42.1 percent of the respondents were neutral about the security safety of using the FinTech services.

Perhaps, the service providers can address this serious concern effectively to protect sensitive information from hackers and to gain confidence from the FinTech users.

In contrast, personal innovativeness has a negligible impact on the technology adoption behaviour.

Personal innovation variable is described as the individual’s willingness to adopt new products taking the uncertainty of the product into account.

It shows that 27 percent of the respondents disagreed that they will be the first to try out FinTech services, and 34.8 percent of the respondents disagreed that they are hesitant to try out new FinTech services.

As a conclusion, Malaysians are open to exploring FinTech, but they may not want to be the first to try it.

It is important for Malaysian financial service providers and financial institutions to continue improving their FinTech related services to meet customer expectations in light of the factors examined.

FinTech plays a vital role in the current global economic growth. The pandemic has changed society and various human practices around the world. Social distancing and containment measures increase the consumers dependency on digital financial service – FinTech.

Cashless transactions are highly favoured during the pandemic especially with restrictions ­set in place to decrease the risks of infection.

Once the habits of dependency on digital services are established, it will be a norm for the adoption of FinTech services and FinTech will continue to remain highly relevant post-pandemic.

Authors’ Profile

  • Dr. Teoh Teng Tenk, Melissa is currently attached to the Faculty of Business, Economics and Accounting in HELP University. 
  • Her experiences include 20 years of teaching in finance and accounting in a few prominent higher education institutions. 
  • She has completed the Chartered Institute of Management Accountant and is a Certified Accountant of MIA. 
  • She received her PhD in Finance from the University of Malaya and was awarded the University of Malaya Fellowship. 
  • Dr. Yap Kiew Heong is currently attached to the Faculty of Business, Economics and Accounting in HELP University. 
  • She has previously associated with TAR UC and UTAR since 1997. Dr Angeline Yap obtained her PhD in Accounting and MBA (Accountancy) from the University of Malaya. 
  • She also received research grants from the University of Malaya, and Fundamental Research Grant Scheme from the Malaysian Government. She has completed the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and is a Certified Accountant of MIA.
  • She has presented some research papers at national and international conferences, and published research papers in the areas of cryptocurrency, corporate governance, and accounting with peer-reviewed journals.

FinTech and the Future of Finance- Rise of NFTs and BNPL

Prof Dr Nafis Alam, PGCHE, SFHEA

Head, School of Accounting and Finance

Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU)

[email protected]

Financial Technology (FinTech) is changing the way people carry out their day-to-day financial services mainly through the use of apps or digital channels designed for their convenience and cost-effectiveness. Such financial apps are often based on mobile phones in the form of “digital wallets” that store credit cards, debit cards, and sometimes account information, thus eliminates the need for cash or checks.  While using the Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered investment apps, investors have the flexibility to invest anywhere and everywhere. With the emergence of the unheard financial products and services like Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), Embedded Finance, Defi and more recently Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), FinTech is revolutionising the way we engage with financial services.

Even though FinTech has wide-ranging applications and there is plenty of reading on how FinTech is shaping the financial world, this piece will be more focused on the two hot FinTech products, NFTs and BNPL, which are attracting wide-ranging discourse on their suitability as a financial product and challenges they bring along. I will also share my perspective on why FinTech knowledge and awareness is key for its sustained growth.

A couple of weeks ago, a digital billboard right in front of Lot 10, Kuala Lumpur, showed the image of a pudgy penguin, nothing unique, right? But it was part of the intriguing project which is taking the NFT world by storm. Pudgy Penguins, a collection of 8,888 randomly generated avatar NFTs that sold out in just 19 minutes and generated over 30,753 Ethereum or US$97.6 million (RM403 million) in total sales volume with rarer pieces being sold at 150 Ether (ETH), the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network. Closer to home, Malaysia’s local graffiti artist and illustrator, Katun managed to gain a total sale of 127.60 ETH for his NFT art collection, equivalent to around RM1.63 million on the day of their release. So what is so cool about NFT and why are there so much hype in the FinTech world? An NFT is a digital asset that represents real-world objects like digital art, drawings, music, in-game items, videos and even a tweet that are bought and sold online, usually with cryptocurrency, and is generally encoded with the same underlying software as many cryptos. For instance, Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s founder and CEO, auctioned his first-ever tweet originally uploaded on 21 March 2006 that read “just setting up my twttr” as an NFT. The tweet was bought using ETH and had a final bid of US$2.9 million (RM11.97 million). Having a digital record, most NFTs are part of the Ethereum blockchain.

As the name suggests, NFTs are non-fungible, meaning they can’t be swapped for something of completely equal value. The value of the NFT lies in its uniqueness and it represents exclusive ownership of a particular digital asset. In a simple term, since NFTs are unique, they have no equivalent value other than what the market is willing to pay for them. NFT can only have one owner and by buying an NFT, the owner purchases the exclusive ownership of a particular digital asset.

The next key questions are, is it worth investing so much money in NFTs? Are they valuable? What will be the future value of those investments? Any crypto investment comes with its challenges and since NFTs are traded in crypto, it follows the same volatile and unpredictable nature of the crypto market. Going with the current hype in cryptocurrencies, NFTs are bound to follow the same interest, but it is difficult to predict the future value of NFTs. Since NFTs will be tagged to the value of ETH or related cryptocurrencies, their value will be attached to the highs and lows of the crypto and the future popularity of the digital assets. Another challenge in buying an NFT is confirming the authenticity of the underlying token itself. As NFTs are completely being sold online, it might be the case where counterfeit digital art can be sold for the price of the original item. Tax authorities are also yet to allocate preferential tax treatment to NFTs as same as some preferred stocks. The overall gains from trading in NFTs might not be that advantageous unless anyone has plenty of funds to spend on acquiring collectibles.

Overall, investing in NFTs is a fad among crypto enthusiasts and a race to hoard some priceless digital tokens but it is too early to prove if NFTs can be considered a valuable investment and we need some time to prove their worth.

Another popular FinTech segment that is becoming a big hit among millennials is the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), which is a short-term financing option that allows customers to make purchases without having to pay the full amount upfront. Customers might pay a small fraction of the total cost upfront (ranging between 10% and 25%) while the balance must be paid weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or any other predetermined payment schedule. BNPL has its own fan base with both millennials and Gen Z consumers are attracted to its no-frill and instalment-based payment system. With limited or poor credit history, BNPL has emerged as one of the popular financing options available especially during the COVID-19-induced eCommerce boom. With the euphoria for BNPL, the global BNPL market which was only US$4.07 billion in 2020, is expected to reach US$20.40 billion by 2028, registering a CAGR of 22.4% from 2021 to 2028.

Initially pressed as a solution to increase the financial inclusion for credit card deprived consumers, BNPL is starting to emerge as a new debt trap for young professionals who do not have or don’t want to have a traditional credit card with high-interest rates. Trendy lifestyle, social media influence, easy availability of credit and no interest rate charged by BNPL providers are fuelling the rise of its popularity among young consumers. Due to less stringent credit checks and onboarding requirements by platforms, it is easier for customers to rack up debt by spending the money which they don’t have and often leading to overspending. Not only is BNPL adding debt pressure, but the non-payment of pre-determined instalment plans is also eating up the potential credit score.

Even though in Malaysia, BNPL usage is way behind countries such as in the US, China, Australia, its attractiveness is soon going to catch up, making it a popular FinTech segment in the country. Pine Lab, one of the leading BNPL platforms, has already onboarded leading merchants as well as banks like CIMB Bank, AmBank and RHB Bank on its platform. An interesting feature of BNPL is that it is largely an unregulated business for anyone and everyone to join, both from the provider and users perspective. Regulating BNPL platforms is crucial for both business continuity and consumer protection in addition to not creating an ecosystem of easy personal financing which could lead to defaults and financial uncertainties. From a FinTech viewpoint, huge defaults from BNPL users can also adversely impact platform survival in the long run.

It is clear that while FinTech does provide new and innovative ways of investment (NFT) and financing (BNPL), the education and awareness of FinTech concepts is key for the booming financial services industry. Educating young Malaysians about FinTech should be the utmost priority of the higher education sector which should include courses on data-driven financial analysis, application of Machine Learning and AI in financial decision making, application of blockchain in financial services, usage of digital assets and alternative finance. At the same time, a fast-growing FinTech industry requires talents that are equipped with financial skills, digital skills, and data analytics skills for them to stay through new roles such as FinTech specialists and business data analysts within the industry. The Private Higher Education Institution (IPTS) has been slow to offer FinTech programmes with only a few universities offering such courses. Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU) understood the importance of FinTech knowledge for Finance graduates and was the first university in the country to offer both undergraduate and postgraduate FinTech programmes. More recently with the likes of Taylors have also ventured into offering FinTech related programmes. Some universities both public and private are incorporating the FinTech module in their Finance programmes.

APU also became the first and only university to sign a pact with the FinTech Association of Malaysia (FAOM) in March 2020. This new partnership opened a whole window of opportunities as APU’s FinTech students are exposed to career and internship opportunities with FAOM members, which include leading banks, financial institutions and FinTech platforms. Industry experts from FAOM are also providing inputs in enhancing the programme comprising key areas of FinTech, namely digital currencies, blockchain technologies, crowdfunding, Robo-advisory and entrepreneurial finance. For a vibrant FinTech ecosystem, IPTS must work closely with the FinTech industry players and development agencies like Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) to create awareness and knowledge transfer among Malaysians as well as to produce the next generation of FinTech experts and founders. FinTech knowledge is becoming an important aspect of education for the digital age as the increased sophistication of FinTech products and services (like NFTs and BNPL) need more awareness among the customers. In addition to being aware of these innovative financial products, users should also be able to compare the pros and cons of each available product.

In conclusion, FinTech is not only the future of finance, it’s already here and it will transform the way we transact and interact with the financial world. Education and awareness is the key for sustained growth of the FinTech ecosystem.

Author Profile

Dr Nafis is currently working as a Professor of Finance and Head of School of Accounting and Finance at Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU). He previously served as an Associate Professor of Finance at Henley Business School Malaysia, University of Reading Malaysia and at Nottingham University Business School (NUBS) in the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus (UNMC). He is also a research affiliate of Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge and contributes to global reports on Fintech, Alternative Finance and Fintech Regulation.

He has published over 40 peer-reviewed in leading journals including The World Economy, Emerging Markets Review, Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Journal of Asset Management, Journal of Banking Regulation, Review of Islamic Economics and Journal of Financial Services Marketing among others. He has also co-authored nine books and numerous book chapters on Fintech and Islamic Finance. As a frequent traveller, he has given lectures on finance and Islamic finance across the world, including Harvard Islamic Finance Forum at Harvard Law School; a Gulf Research Meeting at Cambridge University, UK; Durham University Summer School; Seoul International Finance Conference (SIFIC); World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF); OIC Asia Trade and Economic Forum, Central bank of Turkey among others.

Dr Nafis has served as a visiting Professor/Associate Professor at various universities in the UK and Indonesia. He was featured as a Professor of the Month by Financial Times (FT) in 2014 and received an award for Upcoming Personality in Islamic Finance in 2016 presented by Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA) and hosted by the Indonesian government. He is an avid writer and contributes regularly to mainstream newspapers, economic forums and professional outlets like WEF, Huffington Post, The Edge, The Conversation among others.  He is among the world top 100 influencers in Fintech and top 5 amongst Regtech influencers. He can be followed at https://twitter.com/nafisalam 

Deq on Deck: United For Digital Sovereignty

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Ta’ala Wabarakatuh and Salam Sejahtera,

Greetings,

You may have heard of the term ‘Digital Sovereignty’. It is the idea of having control over our own digital destiny through the data, hardware, and software that we create, share and rely on.

On a policy-making level, digital sovereignty is an important aspect to consider, as there is a growing concern that too much digital control is ceded to too few places, in a tech market that has too little choices.

By upholding digital sovereignty and integrating technology with society, we can chart our digital course on our own terms. More importantly, we can frame policies on digital use, consumption and investment that will drive inclusivity, sustainability, and shared prosperity.

We can better our nation, lower the income gap, democratise digital access and opportunities for all Malaysians.

It is easy to be driving progress for progress’s sake, forgetting that progress should ultimately benefit the people. Serving the Rakyat is our primary mandate – an aspect that I am sure we always keep in mind.  

On 6 September, MDEC was graced with an official working visit by Communications and Multimedia Minister YB Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima TPr Annuar Haji Musa. Our discussions with him and the Ministry not only gave us the opportunity to align our vision and mission with the government and policymakers, but also to reiterate our focus–that we, as a whole, serve the interests of the Rakyat.

It begins with our own self-improvement. YBM reiterated for MDEC to be positioned as the leading agency for Malaysia and ASEAN’s digital economy and aspires for us to improve our internal processes to emerge as a high-performance agency.

There is no doubt that this is what we will be striving for moving forward, as we re-emphasise our focus towards driving positive impact to the people.

Throughout the week, I have been able to connect and continue to seek deeper collaboration with digital economy stakeholders.

I also had the opportunity to meet with Dato’ Azmar Talib, CEO of Tun Razak Exchange (TRX). We had a great discussion on MDEC’s investment promotion activities to support TRX and Bandar Malaysia.

Our recently announced DIF5 strategy allows us to focus on bringing digital investments and sustainable ecosystem development programmes in both Islamic Digital Economy and FinTech–two segments crucial to the development of the economy and the expansion of financial access across the country.

Last week also ended on a good note. By the good graces of the Prime Minister and the Malaysian government, the creative industry is allowed to resume operations from 9 September.

This is a tremendous step towards national recovery, and a relief to more than 19,000 companies in the industry. MDEC has been doing our best to bolster this important segment throughout the pandemic, with initiatives that include the Digital Content Creators Challenge and the Digital Content Grant.

Now it is time for us to redouble our support and help them overcome the rocky terrain as they reopen during an ongoing pandemic.

Digital Sovereignty is something Malaysia must build and uphold for ourselves. To do so, we need to empower the people to take that step with us through the right tools, access, and support.

We need to stand #DigitalUnited.

Yours, Mahadhir @ maDEQ

DEQ on DECK

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Ta’ala Wabarakatuh and Salam Sejahtera,

Greetings,

This has been my first (short) week at MDEC, and it has been an eventful one at that. My week was filled with several important visits to the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia.

My courtesy visit to YBhg. Dato’ Sri Mohammad Mentek, KSU of KKMM & Board Member of MDEC, on my 1st day on the job was filled with amanat and a list of priorities to be addressed.

I also paid a courtesy visit to YBhg. Dato’ Asri Hamidon, Secretary General of Treasury and the Director of Agensi Pelaksanaan Ekonomi Dan Koordinasi Strategik Nasional (LAKSANA) of MoF, YBhg. Dato Shahrul Nazri Abdul Rahim at the Ministry of Finance.

I was invited to the inaugural meeting of the Consultative Council on Foreign Policy chaired by YB Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and I am certainly looking forward to the role MDEC will playing in contributing to the Council’s output.

In the weeks to come, I will continue to engage with more industry stakeholders and Government officials to listen and discuss how we can achieve the objectives in MyDIGITAL together.

I plan to strengthen collaborations with other digital ecosystem drivers, including the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) through the Digital Investment Office (DIO) to continue supporting investments in our digital economy.

It is equally important that I say how privileged I am to be given the opportunity to work alongside the experienced and passionate MDEC team, made even more meaningful as MDEC marks its 25th anniversary Silver Jubilee year.

For 25 years, MDEC has indisputably affected change in the ICT and digital ecosystem of Malaysia. For me, MDEC has always represented the way forward, not just for the digital economy and tech industry, but also for the nation.

While the pandemic has certainly posed a challenge, I have witnessed the resilience and determination that my new colleagues have exhibited to ensure progress is achieved. The digital movement is sweeping swiftly across the country, and I believe that our experience, innovation, and ability to execute will enable us to be at the forefront of this movement.

Change can be unsettling, but in change, lies opportunities. We must be clear on delivering the best possible experience for our industry, investors and our people, by keeping it simple and customer-focused.

I commit to always communicate openly and transparently and I’d like to encourage everyone to do the same. I want to hear your thoughts and ideas. I want to hear what you think, what we could do differently and better.

This has not been an easy time for our families and businesses. The landscape is changing faster than ever. There are key issues around health, income, and mental wellbeing. We can address this with a digital approach, and with urgency.

MDEC is driven by great people with proven expertise. I am confident that together, with all our stakeholders and partners, we will succeed in establishing Malaysia as the Heart of Digital ASEAN. In closing, I also want to pay tribute to all my predecessors over the past 25 years who have contributed towards the success of MDEC. A united team can most definitely turn any dream into a reality. 

I look forward to connecting with all of you in due time, perhaps over food or sports – my passions!

Till then, stay safe and let’s all do our part to build a better Malaysia together. 

Yours,

Mahadhir @ maDEQ

Profile Cloning: Mitigations to Stay Simultaneously Safe and Popular

All of us love to exhibit our hobbies, achievements, and abilities. Browsing through social media sites like Facebook and Instagram — you will find loads of public profiles or semi-public profiles (private profiles with public pictures) at risk of being cloned. Profile cloning is the topic of this article that may save your lives from digital character impersonation and even character assassination.

Those Who Have No Choice but to be Vulnerable  

Certain people (read: public figures) have no choice but to remain vulnerable — since it may be impossible for them to have private or minimized social media profiles due to their nature of work e.g., celebrities, marketing agents, insurance agents, country/political leaders, and whatnots. And actually, in certain context, some public figures’ professions are a lot safer from profile cloning consequences, because of their “unreachable and exclusive” image. 

Let’s say you receive a message on Facebook or Instagram that impersonates Britney Spears, it is very likely you will not fall it. If you are an ordinary person like me (non-celebrity), your immediate thought would probably be “No this can’t be Britney Spears, I have no affair with her, it’s definitely a scammer.” Therefore, you could have another wonderful scam-free day.

The same ‘presumption of innocence’ privilege cannot be earned by ordinary people since most ordinary people have no “exclusive” image about them. Therefore, impersonating them would be more likely to generate response. However, the probability of success is subject to the type of relationship between the cloned profile and the target victim, it could be family tie (the likeliest to get response), friendship (very likely to get response although with considerable alertness from the target), business/work relation (very likely to get response, especially if received from a superior), or stranger trying to establish relation like the one commonly exists in social media and online dating applications. A good tips for a safe online dating practice is to suspect profiles with ridiculously smooth magazine-quality photos.  

The Consequences

We’ve all heard about these two worldwide famous scams: online money scam and online love scam. They are extremely common, which quite makes the sense since humans are thriving for money and love. Many people would pay for love or the other way around — love for money. The next question is: “How did people fall for such scams?”. Firstly, it takes convincing the victim for such crime to proceed to the next stage, which is delivery of a favour, and then voila! A crime is successfully committed and very hard to trace, especially if it involves international money transfer. Lately, Malaysian media have been reporting cases related to ‘love scam’ which led victims losing up to millions of ringgit via online money transfer. See this article as an example.

Possible Profile Cloning Scenarios

Let’s take a look briefly at below figure that depicts few scenarios of profile cloning.

Figure 1. Profile Cloning Scenarios

In Figure 1 above, the first segment at the top represents an unethical activity that digs your Facebook and Instagram profiles looking for biographical data and/or public photos. Subsequently, an imposter creates a fake social media profile to trick your friends or even strangers into thinking that it is you (a decent person who just uses social media for maintaining or expanding current social connection).

The second segment in Figure 1 represents the similar activity, but instead of cloning your profile on Facebook, it is done on Instagram (be careful of who you follow!). While the third segment is the most villainous of all: cloning your profile on multiple social media i.e., Facebook, Instagram, Tinder, and God knows what-else. Afterwards, the online money scam and love scam mentioned in the previous section may be made possible to initiate. 

Are you afraid now? You should be! But there is good news! We can keep you popular and safe at the same time. Let me explain in the next section.

Mitigations of Profile Cloning

Prevention is the best way to mitigate profile cloning and it is part of three-pronged cybersecurity strategy developed by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC). HELP University as a Premier Digital Tech Institution (PDTI) member has adopted the recommended mitigations in this article.

Depending on how safe and popular you want to be, there are preventive mitigations that may suit your needs as follows:

  1. Super-safe and super-private profile: Set your profile private and don’t put any profile picture. With this highly discrete social media profile, the only thing an outsider may know is your name (if you indeed use your real name on your profile). This setting would still allow you to interact with your inner social circle that you have already added to your friends list. Furthermore, you may also exclude profile picture from your other communication media e.g., email account, LinkedIn account (I saw companies’ C-level staff exclude profile picture from their LinkedIn profiles — smart move!), WhatsApp account, and whatever chatting apps you are on. Moreover, you may restrict your profile name too to only display first name or first name plus the first letter of your last name.
  2. Very-safe and slightly well-known profile: Set your profile private and put a profile picture, but set it with “friends-only” privilege, so only your friends could view your profile picture in full size. Additionally, I suggest to avoid putting your face-only or close-up photo as your profile picture as this would still generate clear face visualization if it gets screenshot. Some examples of safe profile picture where your face looks tiny and a bit unclear are those activity-based pictures e.g., riding bicycle, sea surfing, stakeboarding, rollerblading, etc. See! You could still look fabulously cool and popular while remaining safe.
  3. Safe and well-known profile: In case you use your social media for self-promotion or publication, then you would probably put your clear facial picture, real full name, and publicize certain data such as workplace, current location, and even mobile number. BUT, keep these data secret: date of birth and family members/relationships — This will shield your loved ones from being targeted. Also, try not to put a group picture unless it is really necessary; there could be someone in the group picture that could be targeted. I have seen a common smart strategy where the other people’s faces are blurred or covered to protect their privacy. This is a decent and respectable thing to do.

For the third mitigation above, the ‘safe’ word is an overstatement, because when you put your photos and data for public, then you must be mentally and legally ready to face the consequences of profile cloning . I have seen profile cloning happen to my own circle of friends; both on Facebook and Instagram. The quickest mitigation after such crime is detected is to report it to the social media customer service and notify your inner circle (friends, family, colleagues, etc) that somebody has impersonated your profile, hence they can be vigilant of upcoming scam attempt. If serious enough, consider making police report; there is cyber crime unit in the police department that may assist your case.

What to Do If You Suspect Scam Attempt

In case you suspect a scam is being attempted towards to you, for example: you receive an email claiming to be from your direct superior asking to borrow money, then verify it by a phone call to him/her. Or if your online-dating match asks you for a financial favor, then brace your heart and switch on your logic and realize the anomaly. Excitement from knowing new people is normal, but keep your senses alert!.

Conclusion

Profile cloning is very common and people with public or semi-public social media profiles are the most vulnerable to it. The risk can be minimized by reducing the exposure of our social media profiles. Total protection does not exist since we more or less share our data with public. Scrutinize any digital communication and respond considerably. 

References

About the writer:
Okta Nurika, BSc. Hons (BIS) (University of East London), MSc in IT (Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS), PhD in IT (Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS).

Okta Nurika has worked in the tech industry as a network engineer, software test analyst, and software project lead. He has accomplished major telecommunication and software projects in Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Australia, and South Africa. He also has served as an Internet of Things (IoT) assessment consultant in collaboration with TM Forum, a global association of organizations driving digital transformation in telecommunication industry. His published journals and conference papers are related to computer networks, simulation models, and machine learning – mainly optimizations with genetic algorithms. He has experiences in teaching cybersecurity, programming, project management and database management subjects.

Dr Okta Nurika currently works as a Senior Lecturer at HELP University.

References:

https://www.nst.com.my/news/crime-courts/2021/04/682894/woman-loses-rm27-million-love-scam-american-pilot
https://mdec.my/digital-economy-initiatives/for-the-industry/for-small-medium-enterprise-sme/matrix/

Designing the IHL Cybersecurity Talent Pipeline for the National Workforce

Producing industry ready graduates is seen as being the biggest challenge for cybersecurity talent development. To the industry there is always this notion of a shortfall of skill sets and this is more evident for cyber security which is ever evolving. Taking a cue from Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) who have been grooming and churning out distinct Cyber Security graduates for over a decade now into the job market of which this group sits in a ratio of 1:3 on the jobs opportunity playing field. The challenges faced at APU and how they were overcome are quite amazing;

  1. Many jobs in the cybersecurity segment ask for 2-3yrs experience so how do fresh graduates penetrate the market. At APU students are given experiential leaning combined with exposure to real-world experiences that elevates their cybersecurity skills beyond theoretical knowledge and hones problem-solving skills. It also provides opportunities to practice blending technical and other skills such as communication, leadership, and teamwork within a security context.
  2. Reaching out to beyond cyber security programme. Cyber security electives are offered to all the 6000+ tech students whether it’s in fields such as Computer Science, Information Technology or Software Engineering.
  3. Depth & Breadth of curriculum content. With tech ever evolving and cyber security having the dark & white side of trades so enabling the white side professionals has been strengthened by industry skill based content as advised by our partners namely Cyber Test Systems, Cyber Intelligence, TecForte and Silensec.
  4. Infrastructure & Ambience of Cybersecurity Professionals. This is done via courses offered where students take them seated in the facilities at APU such as our Cyber Range in which 3 courses are taught and also the Security Operations Centre (SOC) where another 2 courses are taught. The SOC is then also a mandatory manning fulfilment of 50hrs prior to graduation. The students monitor APU network traffic and do Tier 1 trouble shooting by themselves and escalate to the SOC manager for Tier 2.

There needs to be a continuous interest in Cyber Security programmes. This can only be ensured by universities having implementation strategies in place. As a benchmark below here are the FIVE prong pro-active measures and actions taken at APU focused on industry relevance & marketable graduates into the workforce;

  1. Engaging with the industry experts. The design of APU cyber security programmes are achieved with the industry through the participation of the Industry Advisory Panel (IAP) who have cyber security expertise. The experts are integral in verifying content, direction on software/tools applications, guidance on ideas for final year projects, serve in opportunities for industrial trainings and also support via guest lectures year in year out.
  2. Promotion of our infrastructure on all marketing mediums. In 2018 APU invested in the set up the Cybersecurity Talent Zone (CTZ) with a vision of producing nice graduates in the discipline. With the collaborative arrangements with industry partners, APU has been able to set up international standard facilities in the CTZ for teaching, learning and research. Good examples of this is the Cyber Range which is of Military Defense grade and one of 2 in Malaysia and the most equipped version in the SEA region along with the Security Operations Centre (SOC) which is one of 3 mainstream versions in IHLs within Malaysia. Both were designed, setup and commissioned with partners from the industry bridged by MDEC. A follow through on this is the professional level trainings which our students also benefit from.Malaysia OpenGov Leadership Forum APU won the prestigious Recognition of Excellence Award for its Cyber Security Talent Zone development.
  3. Engaging with local & national agencies. APU’s Corporate Training unit furnishes industry based certification training and APU talents can professionally certify themselves while undergoing their studies and our offerings are in partnership with the likes of CSM, CompTIA, Rocheston, ISACA, EC Council. 
  4. Showcasing our talents. Competitions, research outcomes at conferences & exhibitions as an average churn out 85 publications per year in cybersecurity & forensic. APU has been annual winners at industry level competitions hosted by F-Secure, KPMG, and Australian Information Security Association (AISA). This allows for other potential students to see that the exposure is at large and you are on an industrial footing while being in university.
  5. Showcasing the expertise. Sharing of experts’ in training or being a go to place for cybersecurity upskilling, i.e the MIA CSuite Awareness Programme. APU is also recognized as the Best Cybersecurity Education Provider in Asia – Cyber Security Excellence Awards in 2019 & 2020 and received the Award for best Cyber Security Education Provider in Asia Pacific by CompTIA in 2018.

As part of Digital Malaysia developments, encouragement to IR4.0 has to start from school levels. The awareness has to be made clear on this career pathway as a standalone profession. APU has conducted school programmes in the cybersecurity area quite successfully. APU hosted the Cyber Security Immersion (CSI) for Youth programme in collaboration with MoHE and MDEC. It was a 3 Days 2 Nights programme at APU. Throughout the programme, students underwent seminars, brainstorming sessions and presentations. The contents were delivered by the academic team which covered essential technical knowledge and know-how of phishing, hacking, types of cyber-attacks and countermeasures. APU has also done Cyber Security awareness programmes at SMKs from 2018-2019 where a total of 16 schools were covered.

The future in cybersecurity education is allowing the qualification as a standalone qualification as the market is so wide and jobs at a 1:3 ratio which means it’s a monstrous programme by itself. As for programme standards it should be standalone and not be parked under the cluster of Computer Science to address the depth and breadth of the content requirements mapped to workforce needs. There is a paradigm shift needed by the Malaysian Qualifying Agency (MQA) on this matter for the benefit of future graduates.

Prof Ir Ts Dr Vinesh Thiruchelvam
Deputy Vice Chancellor &
Chief Innovation Officer
Asia Pacific University of
Technology & Innovation

Prof Ir Ts Dr Vinesh Thiruchelvam is currently the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) and the Chief Innovation Officer for the APIIT Education Group. He is also an academic advisor and external examiner to four Malaysian Public Universities. He is Professional Engineering with the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) and a Chartered Engineer (CEng) with Engineering Council, UK and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE-UK). 

Prof Vinesh has been the Chairman of the Engineering Education Technical Division (E2TD) at the Institute of Engineers Malaysia, advisory member of the Ministry of Education’s ‘STEM Task Force’ directly involved with the development of the MoE’s Education Blueprint in 2014-2015, member of the Ministry of Human Resources’ BPIC on quality of graduates in 2014-2017, member of Malaysian National Task Force for Big Data Movements with Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDeC) in 2015-2018  and is currently contributing to the Malaysian National Framework for Artificial Intelligence as a scientific expert appointed in 2019.

Prof Vinesh is also appointed on to Digital Expert Panel for Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) covering Cybersecurity, Data Science, Software & System Integrator, Animation, Games and Internet of Things for 2020-2024. He is also the Technical Chair and Lead worldwide for ISO under the working group TC307/WG 1 – BlockChain Fundamentals Standards Development.

Building Trusted, Secure and Ethical Digital Environment for Malaysian SMEs / Membangun Persekitaran Digital yang Dipercayai, Selamat dan Beretika untuk PKS Malaysia

Scroll down for Malay version / Skrol ke bawah untuk versi Bahasa Malaysia

The Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL) specifically sets out to map the importance of cybersecurity, listing it under one of the six main thrusts of the blueprint; to build trusted, secure and ethical digital environment. Cybersecurity sets the foundation from which businesses and enterprises can operate and grow in a safe and secure digital environment.

New working arrangement in the new norm, i.e. working from home, has also contributed to the surge in cyberattacks. Most SMEs utilise a “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) approach, which significantly exposes valuable data and information to cyberattacks and various malicious forms of intrusion. SMEs bear a brunt of these attacks. 

In 2020, Malaysia recorded 6,512 cybersecurity incidents. In the period between January to May 2021, the number of incidents recorded stood at 4,615, representing an almost one-fold increase in threats and incidents comparatively. Cybercrimes have also shown an upward trend. According to the  Royal Malaysian Police statistics, in 2019, the number of cybercrimes reported was 11,875 cases, with RM498 million in terms of losses. Last year, the number of cases increased to 14,229, with total losses of RM413 million. In the first quarter of this year, the number of cases reported was 4,327 and the losses involved were RM 77 million.

As the world grapples with the effects brought about by the pandemic, malicious attacks and serious data breaches are also increasing at an alarming rate, compounding the situation and putting into sharp focus the criticality of having a robust cybersecurity system in place. According to Deloitte, unseen (previously undocumented) malware or methods employed by hackers and cyber attackers have risen 30 percent during the pandemic as opposed to 20 percent pre-pandemic.

SMEs contribute a large percentage to our overall GDP, 38.9 percent in 2019 while the digital economy contributed 19.1 percent in the same period. Thus it is imperative that we must ensure that the appropriate safeguards are in place. Cybersecurity adoption for SMEs and as a whole, is no longer an option but a necessity.

To put it in numbers:

  • 84 percent of SMEs in Malaysia have been compromised in one way or another by cyber threat incidents.
  • 76 percent SMEs have suffered more than one attack.

Cognizant of this situation, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the nation’s lead agency in digital transformation, in collaboration with the National Cyber Security Agency (NACSA) and SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp) have set out to develop and implement the MATRIX Cybersecurity for SMEs (MATRIX). This programme, launched on 28 June 2021 by Deputy Prime Minister, Senior Minister for Security and Minister of Defence YB Dato’ Seri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob during Cyber Defence & Security Exhibition And Conference (CYDES) 2021, aims to boost cybersecurity adoption and implementation amongst SMEs from all sectors in Malaysia. 

MATRIX is the first-of-its-kind in Malaysia and the region as it is designed specifically to facilitate acceleration of SME cybersecurity adoption. This collaborative programme between MDEC, NACSA, SME Corp and Malaysia’s cybersecurity industry partners is a customised programme that is designed to fit with the DNA of SMEs. MATRIX will bridge the gap in cybersecurity adoption and as a result, ensures that businesses can continue to operate in a mitigated and safer environment.

Echoing the importance of this initiative, NACSA, the national lead agency for cybersecurity, via its Chief Executive, Ir. Md Shah Nuri Md Zain, said, “The MATRIX programme is established to address current cybersecurity challenges faced by the SMEs. MATRIX will be supporting one of its five strategic pillars and protecting SME businesses which is the foundation of national economy and future economy. With the vast growing digital economy, cyberattacks will multiply with higher business impact. SMEs will be the biggest target due to the preparedness with lack of resources and expertise to manage cybersecurity operation. MATRIX can definitely manage those challenges and it will be a sustainable approach as digital adoption will be a journey.” 

A robust cybersecurity system will integrate the virtual and physical spaces securely, resulting in a balanced economic advancement which resonates with our vision of Malaysia 5.0, a nation that is deeply integrated with technology, providing equitable digital opportunities to the people and businesses. It is also in line with Malaysia’s National Cybersecurity Strategy.

The MATRIX programme will also accelerate the journey of digital transformation and enhance the cybersecurity experience through two key value propositions:

  • Simple – Easy to adopt and cost-effective with minimum supervision
  • Smarter – Visibility by staying ahead of threats and scalable with business

The MATRIX programme has also taken into consideration the challenges faced by SMEs when it comes to adoption of cybersecurity measures i.e. lack of funds and resources, limited access to expertise and tools, and the complexity of deployment and operation. It sets out to  assists SMEs end-to-end, identifying the potential gaps in cybersecurity, the priorities and offering a cost-effective measure.

MATRIX utilises a three-pronged strategy to mitigate and prevent instances of cyberattacks. First, it provides a 24-hour cybersecurity surveillance to discover and flag attacks to critical business operations. Secondly, it will provide critical asset protection, deploying the measures against attacks on servers. And thirdly, it continuously assesses the vulnerability and gaps as the threat of cyberattacks evolve.   

The rapid growth of ICT and technology sovereignty bring with it a tremendous opportunity for Malaysia’s cyber-security industry. IDC reported that cybersecurity spending for Malaysia reached RM2.6 billion (US$627 million) in 2019 and is expected to exceed RM4 billion (US$1 billion) mark by 2024. 

For the next five years, it is expected to remain robust and will see steady growth at the rate of 12.5 percent (CAGR). This is more than twice of the overall ICT spending in the country which stood at 5.7 percent for the same period.

As cybersecurity is a domain that is continuously evolving and improving, with new technologies, processes, and methods, it will continue to expand the in-flow of investments and accelerate the growth of Malaysia’s cybersecurity ecosystem. At present, the local cybersecurity industry partners that have joined the MATRIX programme include TIME dotcom Berhad, NetAssist (M) Sdn Bhd, PERNEC Technologies Sdn Bhd, DNSVault Sdn Bhd, Securemetric Technology Sdn Bhd and Tecforte Sdn Bhd.

With so much at stake, not only must we be vigilant but also have the corresponding counter-measure in place. To learn more of the MATRIX Cybersecurity for SMEs, go to: http://mdec.my/matrix     

MDEC will also be kicking off its second edition of the highly anticipated and successful Malaysia Tech Month (MTM) on 29 July 2021. MTM is a month-long curation of electrifying digital and technology keynotes, workshops, discussion panels and business-matching sessions. It will feature distinguished group of local and international industry speakers and investors to share their expert thoughts and experiences in 4IR-driven digital economy. The MDEC Digital Adoption Ecosystems division will be curating a week-long series of events at MTM. To find out how you can participate, log on to: https://mdec.my/mtm2021


Rangka Tindakan Ekonomi Digital Malaysia (MyDIGITAL) secara khusus telah memetakan kepentingan keselamatan siber apabila menyenaraikannya di  bawah salah satu daripada enam teras utama untuk membina persekitaran digital yang boleh dipercayai, selamat dan beretika. Cybersecurity menetapkan asas bagi membolehkan perniagaan pelbagai peringkat dapat beroperasi dan berkembang dalam persekitaran digital yang selamat dan terjamin.

Pengaturan kerja dalam norma baharu, iaitu bekerja dari rumah juga telah menyumbang kepada peningkatan serangan siber. Sebilangan besar Perusahaan Kecil dan Sederhana (PKS) menggunakan pendekatan “Bawa Peranti Anda Sendiri”  sekaligus mendedahkan data dan maklumat penting kepada serangan siber yang berbahaya. PKS menghadapi serangan ini.

Pada tahun lepas, Malaysia mencatatkan 6,512 insiden keselamatan siber. Bagi tempoh Januari hingga Mei 2021 pula, jumlah kes yang dilaporkan adalah sebanyak 4,615 sekaligus menunjukkan peningkatan hampir satu kali ganda. Jenayah siber juga mengalami trend yang meningkat apabila statistik Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) pada 2019 mendedahkan jumlah kes yang dilaporkan adalah 11,875 dengan kerugian berjumlah RM498 juta. Tahun lalu, ia melonjak kepada 14,229 serta membabitkan kerugian RM413 juta. Pada suku pertama tahun ini, jumlah kes yang dilaporkan adalah 4,327 dan kerugian yang dicatatkan sebanyak RM77 juta.

Ketika dunia masih bergelut dengan kesan pandemik COVID-19, serangan siber dan pelanggaran data yang serius juga turut membimbangkan. Ini menimbulkan pelbagai persoalan dan kritikan serta mewujudkan gesaan untuk memiliki sistem keselamatan siber yang kukuh. Menurut Deloitte, malware atau kaedah yang tidak dapat dilihat yang digunakan oleh penggodam telah meningkat 30 peratus semasa wabak berbanding 20 peratus sebelumnya.

PKS memberi sumbangan yang besar kepada Keluaran Dalam Negara Kasar (KDNK) negara iaitu sebanyak 38.9 peratus pada 2019 sementara ekonomi digital menyumbang 19.1 peratus bagi tempoh sama. Sehubungan itu, kita perlu memiliki ‘sistem perlindungan sewajarnya’ supaya PKS dan sektor ekonomi digital dapat terus beroperasi di sebalik ancaman keselamatan siber. Penerapan keselamatan siber untuk keseluruhan PKS bukan lagi pilihan tetapi kini telah menjadi keperluan.

Berikut merupakan fakta bernombor.

  • 84 peratus PKS di Malaysia pernah terlibat sekurang -kurangnya satu serangan siber atau insiden ancaman siber.
  • 76 peratus PKS mengalami lebih dari satu serangan.

Menyedari situasi ini, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) sebagai agensi utama peneraju transformasi ekonomi digital negara, bekerjasama dengan Agensi Keselamatan Siber Negara (NASCA) dan SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp) untuk mengembangkan dan melaksanakan MATRIX Keselamatan Siber Untuk PKS (MATRIX). Program ini telah dilancarkan pada 28 Jun lalu oleh YAB Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Dato’ Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob yang ketika itu Menteri Kanan Pertahanan (Keselamatan) semasa Pameran dan Persidangan Keselamatan Siber & Keselamatan (CYDES) 2021. Ia bertujuan untuk meningkatkan penerapan dan pelaksanaan keselamatan siber di kalangan PKS tempatan membabitkan semua sektor.

MATRIX yang pertama di Malaysia dan rantau ini dirancang untuk memudahkan dan mempercepatkan penggunaan keselamatan siber di kalangan PKS. Kerjasama dengan rakan industri keselamatan siber tempatan ini dirancang supaya sesuai dengan cara operasi PKS. MATRIX akan merapatkan jurang penggunaan sistem keselamatan siber dan dan hasil yang dijangkakan ialah perniagaan dapat terus beroperasi dalam persekitaran yang lebih selamat.

Menyuarakan betapa pentingnya inisiatif ini, Ketua Eksekutif NASCA, Ir. Md Shah Nuri Md Zain mengatakan, “Program MATRIX dibentuk untuk menangani cabaran keselamatan siber yang dihadapi oleh PKS dan mikro.  MATRIX akan menyokong salah satu daripada lima tonggak strategiknya bagi melindungi perniagaan PKS dan mikro yang menjadi asas ekonomi negara dan ekonomi masa depan. Berikutan ekonomi digital yang berkembang pesat, serangan siber akan turut meningkat berlipat kali ganda serta berupaya memberi kesan yang lebih buruk kepada perniagaan. PKS menjadi sasaran utama kerana kekurangan sumber dan kepakaran untuk menguruskan operasi keselamatan siber. MATRIX dapat menangani cabaran ini dan ia akan menjadi pendekatan yang berterusan kerana penggunaan digital akan menjadi sebahagian daripada perjalanan ini”.

Sistem keselamatan siber yang mantap akan berupaya mengintegrasikan ruang maya dan fizikal dengan selamat serta mampu menghasilkan kemajuan ekonomi yang seimbang dan sesuai dengan visi MDEC tentang Malaysia 5.0, iaitu sebuah negara yang sangat terintegrasi dengan teknologi, memberikan peluang digital yang adil kepada rakyat dan perniagaan. Ini juga sejajar dengan Strategi Keselamatan Siber  Kebangsaan.

Program MATRIX juga akan mempercepat perjalanan transformasi digital dan meningkatkan pengalaman keselamatan siber melalui dua cadangan utama yang iaitu;

  • Sederhana  – Mudah digunakan dan menjimatkan kos dengan pengawasan minimum
  • Lebih maju  – Mampu kenalpasti dan mematahkan ancaman dan sesuai dengan perniagaan

Program MATRIX juga telah mengambil kira  pelbagai kesukaran yang dihadapi oleh PKS dan mikro dalam menerapkan langkah-langkah keselamatan siber seperti kekurangan dana dan sumber serta akses terbatas terhadap kepakaran dan peralatan selain kerumitan penggunaan dan operasi. Sehubungan itu, program ini ditetapkan untuk membantu PKS dan mikro bermula dari peringkat awal hingga akhir serta mengenal pasti jurang dalam keselamatan siber, keutamaan dan menawarkan penyelesaian yang menjimatkan.

MATRIX menggunakan strategi serampang tiga mata untuk mengurangkan dan mencegah kejadian serangan siber. Pertama, ia menyediakan pengawasan keselamatan siber 24 jam terhadap serangan operasi perniagaan yang kritikal. Kedua, ia akan memberikan perlindungan kepada aset kritikal serta menerapkan langkah-langkah yang perlu diambil terhadap serangan. Dan ketiga, ia mampu menilai masalah.

Pertumbuhan pesat sektor ICT dan teknologi membawa peluang luar biasa bagi industri keselamatan siber Malaysia. International Data Corporation (IDC) melaporkan bahawa perbelanjaan keselamatan siber  Malaysia mencapai RM2.6 bilion (AS $ 627 juta) pada 2019 dan dijangka melebihi RM4 bilion (AS $ 1 bilion) pada tahun 2024.

Bagi tempoh lima tahun akan datang, ia dijangka akan terus kukuh dengan jangkaan kadar pertumbuhan tahunan dikompaun (CAGR) stabil iaitu  sebanyak 12.5 peratus (CAGR). Ini melebihi dua kali daripada perbelanjaan ICT keseluruhan negara ini yang berjumlah 5.7 peratus untuk tempoh yang sama.

Oleh kerana keselamatan siber adalah domain yang akan terus berkembang dengan teknologi, proses dan kaedah baharu, ia akan terus memperluaskan aliran pelaburan serta mempercepat pertumbuhan ekosistem keselamatan siber Malaysia. Pada masa ini, rakan industri keselamatan siber tempatan yang telah menyertai program MATRIX termasuk TIME dotcom Berhad, NetAssist (M) Sdn Bhd, PERNEC Technologies Sdn Bhd, DNSVault Sdn Bhd, Securemetric Technology Sdn Bhd dan Tecforte Sdn Bhd.

Dengan begitu banyak yang ditawarkan, kita bukan hanya perlu berwaspada tetapi juga memiliki tindakan balas yang sesuai. Untuk mengetahui lebih lanjut mengenai MATRIX Cybersecurity untuk PKS, layari http://mdec.my/matrix

MDEC juga akan memulakan edisi kedua Bulan Teknologi Malaysia (MTM) pada 29 Julai 2021. MTM merupakan acara selama sebulan untuk mengetengahkan ucaptama digital, teknologi, bengkel, panel perbincangan dan sesi padanan perniagaan. Ia akan menampilkan kumpulan penceramah yang terdiri daripada pelabur industri tempatan dan antarabangsa yang terkenal untuk berkongsi pemikiran dan kepakaran mereka dalam ekonomi digital yang didorong oleh Revolusi Perindustrian 4.0 (4IR).  Bahagian Penerimagunaan Ekosistem Digital MDEC akan menguruskan beberapa siri acara selama seminggu di MTM. Untuk mengetahui bagaimana anda boleh mengambil bahagian, sila layari : https://mdec.my/mtm2021

#100 Go Digital bantu lebarkan perniagaan sate pulau ke ibu kota

Terragrill, jenama sate popular di Pulau Langkawi kini semakin melebarkan operasi dengan membuka kedai sejuk beku pertamanya di ibu kota.

Pemiliknya, Zainah Abd Manaf yang juga alumni program 100 Go Digital anjuran Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) berkata, beliau teruja kerana impian untuk melihat jenama berkenaan ‘belayar’  keluar dari Langkawi berjaya direalisasikan walaupun negara masih berdepan suasana tidak menentu akibat pandemik COVID-19 dan Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan Bersyarat (PKPB) yang berlarutan.

Katanya, setelah membuat kajian, syarikat itu membuat pelaburan sebanyak RM50,000 untuk membuka kedai berkenaan yang terletak di tingkat atas Pasar Taman Tun Dr. Ismail yang disifatkan sebagai lokasi strategik.

“Walaupun baharu beroperasi pada awal bulan ini, saya bersyukur kerana kami berjaya menjual sebanyak satu tan sate ayam, daging dan kambing dengan hasil jualan sekitar RM20,000. Saya jangkakan dalam tempoh dua minggu berikutnya, sebanyak satu tan lagi stok akan terjual,” katanya di sini hari ini.

Ditanya mengenai langkah berani untuk membuka kedai ketika ini, Zainah,43, berkata, Terragrill perlu tampil dengan strategi digital baharu untuk memastikan kelangsungan perniagaan.

“Hasil jualan di Langkawi bergantung kepada permintaan daripada hotel namun disebabkan oleh Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan (PKP) dan disambung pula dengan PKPB, terdapat hotel yang menutup operasi manakala hotel yang masih bertahan telah mengurangkan pembelian.

“Sebelum ini, Terragrill turut menghantar produk ke Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor. Oleh itu, langkah membuka kedai sejuk beku di sini bertujuan untuk memenuhi permintaan pelanggan di Lembah Klang dan memastikan syarikat terus menjana pendapatan,” katanya.

Mengulas lanjut, Zainah berkata, pelaburan yang dibuat membabitkan kos sewa kedai, pembelian peti sejuk beku besar, menggaji dua orang pekerja baharu dan membuat pemasaran digital.

“Bagi memastikan sate yang dijual kepada pelanggan berada dalam keadaan segar, saya memastikan penghantaran stok dari kilang di Langkawi dilakukan pada setiap minggu,” katanya.

Jenama Terragrill merupakan antara 100 usahawan di Langkawi yang menyertai Program 100 Go Digital.

Menerusi penglibatannya, Zainah berpeluang meluaskan perniagaannya ke ‘wilayah baharu’ sekaligus mengurangkan kerugian yang ditanggung akibat pandemik COVID-19 yang memberi kesan kepada sektor pelancongan di Langkawi.

Sementara itu, Ketua Pegawai Pegawai Perniagaan Digital MDEC, Aiza Azreen Ahmad berkata, agensi berkenaan sentiasa menggalakan usahawan tempatan bergerak ke arah pendigitalan supaya terus berdaya saing, lestari dan mampu bertahan dan berkembang ketika pandemik global.

“MDEC telah melancarkan program 100 Go Digital Coaching yang menggabungkan pelbagai komponen secara hands-on dalam memimpin peserta untuk memastikan mereka mencapai prestasi baik dalam perniagaan. Kisah usahawan seperti pemilik Terragrill ini yang menggunakan pendekatan digital dalam perniagaannya telah menunjukkan hasil dalam tempoh singkat dan meluaskan perniagaan di kawasan baharu.  Ia selaras dengan matlamat MDEC yang memberi tumpuan terhadap empat teras DIGITAL iaitu Kemahiran Baharu (New skills), Penerimaan (Adoption), Pengganggu (Disruptors) dan Pelaburan (Investments). Ini membentuk asas kepada kempen jenama digital NADI MDEC yang memacu program-program terasnya untuk rakyat, perniagaan dan para pelabur.

 Jenama Terragrill yang merupakan  peserta 100 Go Digital telah menguruskan teras Pengganggu (Disruptors) apabila membawa operasi perniagaannya ke kawasan baharu selepas Pulau Langkawi terjejas akibat sekatan pergerakan. Ini membuktikan bahawa kemahiran digital dapat membantu perniagaan untuk terus beroperasi di sebalik kekangan yang dihadapi. Inilah tujuan MDEC melaksanakan inisiatif untuk membimbing perniagaan tempatan bergerak ke arah pendigitalan bagi memastikan perniagaan terus bertahan dan berkembang,”katanya.

Pada masa hadapan, MDEC menerusi kepelbagai inisiatif mahu membimbing lebih banyak perniagaan tempatan mengembangkan operasi berteraskan teknologi terkini. Usaha ini selaras dengan Rangka Tindakan Ekonomi Digital Malaysia (MyDIGITAL) yang bertujuan untuk menyokong kira -kira 875 000 Perusahaan Kecil dan Sederhana (PKS) dan usahawan mikro ke platform digital menjelang 2025.

Mengenai 100 Go Digital, inisiatif ini menyasarkan untuk menyokong sektor perniagaan runcit, syarikat makanan dan minuman (F&B) logistik dan perkhidmatan profesional. Para jurulatih yang terlibat dengan program ini pula mempunyai rekod prestasi cemerlang dari lapan syarikat yang kukuh iaitu AutoCount, Deepsky, Estream Software, iBizzCloud, Innergia Labs, Locus-T, Million Software dan Smart-Acc Solutions. Senarai ini merupakan kumpulan pelatih digital pertama dengan lebih banyak para jurulatih yang akan ditambahkan pada masa terdekat.

Selain dari sesi latihan, syarikat-syarikat ini juga akan menyediakan bahan latihan dalam talian dan pasukan sokongan program yang berdedikasi.

Untuk mengetahui lebih lanjut dan mendaftar ke 100 Go Digital Coaching, sila kunjungi: https://mdec.my/100godigital .

Bercerita lanjut mengenai manfaat menyertai program itu, Zainah menjelaskan dia kini turut mengaplikasikan sistem pembayaran tanpa tunai di kafenya di Pekan Kuah, Langkawi bagi kemudahan pelanggan.

Katanya pelbagai manfaat diperolehi selepas melaksanakan langkah berkenaan termasuklah tunai harian mudah diuruskan, kurang masalah shortage selain menjimatkan masa kerana tidak perlu ke bank setiap hari untuk memasukkan duit.

Mengulas lanjut mengenai produk yang dijualnya di kedai sejuk beku, Zainah berkata, setiap satu kotak mengandungi 25 cucuk sate dengan harga bermula RM25 (ayam), RM29 (daging) dan RM37 bagi kambing yang didatangkan bersama sekotak kuah kacang seberat 200 gram.

“Memandangkan kedai di sini baru beroperasi, saya turut melantik sebuah agensi digital untuk melakukan kerja -kerja promosi dalam talian bagi menarik lebih ramai pelanggan. Pada masa sama, Terragrill turut mengemaskini platform media sosial dan laman web kami iaitu http://www.terragrillcafe.com ,” katanya.

Sementara itu, Pengarah Bahagian Penerimagunaan Digital Perniagaan MDEC, Muhundhan Kamarapullai berkata, dalam situasi luar biasa yang dihadapi ketika ini, MDEC berpendapat PKS perlu terus diperkasa menerusi pendigitalan bagi memastikan kelangsungan perniagaan.

“Menerusi 100 Go Digital , setakat ini lebih 10,000  ribu PKS telah mendapat manfaat menerusi lebih 50 sesi yang telah dianjur MDEC dan rakan industri. Sidang Kemuncak PKS Dalam Talian yang dianjurkan secara maya di bawah inisiatif ini turut dipilih menerima Anugerah Emas Kategori  Acara Dalam Talian pada Anugerah Kecemerlangan Pemasaran 2020. Kesemua inisiatif dan pencapaian MDEC ini adalah untuk memastikan rakyat dan perniagaan mendapat manfaat daripada ekonomi digital yang berkembang pesat di samping berusaha mencapai cita-cita negara menjadi Nadi Digital ASEAN,” katanya.

Pada akhir temubual, Zainah mendedahkan, satu lagi cawangan kedai sejuk beku akan dibuka pada November ini namun beliau masih tidak bersedia untuk berkongsi lokasi sebenar.

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