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Asean companies face $750 billion risk from cyberattacks

/ 04:31 PM January 25, 2018

Companies across the Asean bloc face a growing risk of cyberattacks, which can expose the region’s top-listed firms to a US$750 billion erosion in current market capitalisation.

This was revealed on Tuesday in a new research commissioned by Cisco.

Conducted by global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, the research underlines that Asean’s growing strategic relevance, driven by economic expansion and ongoing digital adoption, make it a prime target for cyberattacks.


A combination of nascent policy preparedness, absence of a unifying regional governance framework, shortage of skilled talent, underestimation of risk and lack of adequate investment are among the factors contributing to the heightened risk.

The research report, titled “Cybersecurity in Asean: An Urgent Call to Action”, emphasises that cyber-security risk across the bloc will continue to escalate as the bloc gets more digitally interconnected.

Asean countries underspend on cyber security. The region currently spends an average of 0.07 per cent of its collective gross domestic product (GDP) on cyber security annually. It will need to increase the spending to 0.35-0.61 per cent of GDP between 2017 and 2025 to be in line with the best benchmark (based on spending levels as percentage of GDP for Israel).

The research estimates that this translates to $171 billion in collective spending needed across Asean countries during the period. Limited sharing of threat intelligence, often because of mistrust and a lack of transparency, will lead to even more porous cyber-defence mechanisms.

Naveen Menon, Asean President at Cisco, said: “Digital innovation and adoption are central pillars of economic growth for Asean. Its success hinges in large part on the bloc’s ability to combat cyber threats. Cyber security needs to be an integral part of policy discussions at the semi-annual Asean Summit, with the aim of developing a unified policy framework for the region. The corporate sector also needs to start treating cyber security as a business wide issue that can only be tackled by adopting a risk-centric approach to building resilience, rather than just an IT problem.”

Luong Thi Le Thuy, general director of Cisco Vietnam, said: “Vietnam has fallen to rank 101 among 195 countries in the Global Security Index 2017 compiled by the UN International Telecommunication Union, down 25 places from 2016.”

“The National Assembly (NA) has been discussing the need to formulate a law on cyber security. It has been put under consideration at the fourth session of the 14th NA. However, all stakeholders need to work together to help build cyber-security capabilities in Vietnam to ensure that we are able to combat these threats,” Thuy said.


Check out our Asean 2017 special site for important information and latest news on the 31st Asean Summit to be held in Manila on Nov. 13-15, 2017. Visit

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TAGS: Asean, Business, cyberattacks, technology
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