|ICT Update | December 7, 2018
Authors: Kim Yaeger and Monica Chritton
|THE COUNCIL'S TAKE|
Philippines Formally Appoints Gregorio Honasan as New Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) Chief
Senator Gregorio Honasan has formally been appointed Chief of the Philippines’ Department of Information and Communication Technology, assuming the leadership role from Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. The official appointment papers confirming Senator Honasan’s appointment as DICT Chief were released on November 22 and signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on November 19. For more information on Senator Honasan’s political background, see our previous Philippines Update here. Senator Honasan is on good terms with President Duterte and will be seen as an ally in the President’s Cabinet.
Some media outlets have raised questions regarding Senator Honasan’s qualifications in assuming the leadership position; Section 11 of the DICT Act of 2015 requires “at least seven (7) years of competence and expertise in any of the following: information and communications technology, information security management, cybersecurity, data privacy, e-Commerce, or human capital development in the ICT sector” for anyone appointed DICT Secretary, Undersecretary, or Assistant Undersecretary. Senator Honasan’s qualifications will be vetted by the Commission on Appointments (CA), according to Chief Presidential Counsel and Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo.
The DICT has seen three leaders in three years, and with a third telco player recently set to enter the Philippines’ existing telecommunications market duopoly, new leadership comes at a time needing careful management of this substantial change to public telecommunications services. Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto said in a statement that he recommended Senator Honasan to retain Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. as Acting Undersecretary to see the transition through, stating that Acting Secretary Rio “is good for one last tour of duty, at a crucial point in our nation’s life when important developments in the ICT sector are happening, including the authorization of a third telco-which must, like any public utility, be subjected to oversight and held to its promised deliverable.” For more information on the third telco player, see our previous ICT Analytical Update here.
SingHealth Hack Investigation Committee of Inquiry (COI) Wraps Up
On November 30, the Committee of Inquiry (COI) on Singapore’s most serious cyber-attack drew to a close. The sophisticated cyber-attack on SingHealth’s database took place in June and resulted in unauthorized access and duplication of non-personal information of 1.5 million people and dispensed medicines’ records of 160,000 people, including that of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long. The COI has investigated the Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS), which oversees SingHealth. The COI will submit findings and recommendations to Minister-in-Charge of Cybersecurity and Minister for Communications and Information, S Iswaran by December 31. For more information on the SingHealth cyber-attack, see our previous update here.
Solicitor-General Kwek Mean Luck identified seven points where malicious activities should have been reported to the Cybersecurity Agency (CSA) and put forth 16 recommendations before the COI to enhance security and guide responses to any future incidents. The recommendations’ top priority areas stress tighter controls and a proactive defense strategy, such as managing closer control of privileged administrator accounts, using passphrases for users and testing staff for cybersecurity awareness and ability to recognize vulnerabilities. COI Chair, former chief district judge and Public Service Commission member, Richard Magnus, emphasized the importance of developing solutions to address human error in addition to improving technical defenses and responses going forward. Earlier in the COI hearings, CSA Chief David Koh said IHiS security oversight was at a “relatively low level” at the time of the attack, but recognized that the agency was learning from the incident and was heading in the “right direction”. Koh made several recommendations for measures that the IHiS take, which include reviewing its organizational and reporting structure, creating additional layers of protection around SingHealth electronic medical records (the “crown jewels” of the database), and adopting a “defense-in-depth” approach when working with networks and systems.
Because it is a matter of “when” and not “if” cyber-attacks will occur, Singapore is working to enhance its national cyber security defenses from technical and human capacity-building dimensions and to lead regional cooperation in these areas. This regional leadership effort is reflected in Singapore’s ASEAN 2018 Chairmanship theme of “Resilience and Innovation”. With the growth of ASEAN’s digital economy set to be worth $240 billion by 2025—a figure revised up $40 billion from previous estimates—developing cyber security to keep up with growth continues to be a challenge for the ASEAN. Singapore has taken steps to manage these concerns, and plans to open an ASEAN-Singapore Cybersecurity Center of Excellence to boost regional cyber security capabilities. At the September ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity (AMCC), Minister S Iswaran spoke of the SingHealth attack and emphasized the need for a vibrant regional ecosystem to keep pace with evolving threats. Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean also stressed regional cyber resilience at the Singapore International Cyber Week (SICW), outlining the importance of cyber defense, innovation, partnerships to build a resilient and innovative digital community.
Ministry of Digital Economy and Society to Prepare Plan Supplementing Thailand’s ASEAN Chairmanship Theme
Supporting Thailand’s recently announced 2019 ASEAN Chairmanship theme, “Advancing Partnership and Sustainability”, Thailand’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES) is preparing a plan that aims to support continued cooperation among ASEAN nations and catalyze Thailand’s digital transformation.
Minister of Digital Economy Dr. Pichet Durongkaveroj said that the 2019 ASEAN Chairmanship theme will boost the country’s digital transformation through further collaboration in the region, . The ASEAN digital economy is on track to reach US$240 billion by 2025, according to a Temasek and Google report. The latest projection is $40 billion more than the 2016 estimate of ASEAN’s digital economy. Regional cooperation and collaboration will be key to MDES’s plan to foster a digital ecosystem that helps meet the goals set forth in Thailand’s 20-year digital roadmap.
Although specifics of MDES’s plan are still being developed, Minister Pichet said achieving the five targets of the 20-year digital roadmap, which are “the development of infrastructure, governance, cyber security, technological development, and manpower”, would help the government achieve three critical objectives by 2020 – of modernizing rural areas, reducing income disparity and increasing capacity to thrive in the digital age. Minister Pichet also said that in the coming year Thailand will continue enhancing the Bangkok-based ASEAN-Japan Cybersecurity Capacity-Building Center and is proposing a 2019 ASEAN Digital Agility Leaders’ Meeting. For more information on the ASEAN-Japan Cybersecurity Capacity-Building Center, please see our update here.
The potential for growth and innovation in Thailand’s cyber capabilities is clear. Currently, Thailand has the second largest internet economy in ASEAN, valued at US$12 billion in 2018 and with a 27% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2015-2018, according to the Google and Temasek report. Thailand also spends more time than any other country on the internet and recently claimed the title for the world’s first blockchain-supported elections, which were held by the Democrat party primary election earlier this month. Thailand’s technology startup ecosystem is also growing as evidenced by ASEAN unicorn startup GrabTaxi’s $50 million payments joint venture with Thailand’s KBank and Bangkok based startup Eko, a B2B messaging platform, successfully securing a $20 million investment from an Indonesian VC firm SMDV.
Although Thailand has placed an emphasis on building capacity with its ASEAN-Japan Cybersecurity Capacity-Building Center and other initiatives intended to bolster its digital economy, its regulatory environment must also be conducive to achieving its digital economy goals. Most recently, Thailand’s latest Cybersecurity Bill has drawn concerns from foreign and domestic businesses and state agencies for its creation of a powerful National Cybersecurity Committee and for its potential to jeopardize confidential data and limit data flows. For more information, read our previous update here.
|IN THIS UPDATE|
Cambodia’s tour guides face tech disruption The ASEAN Post 29th Nov 2018
Indonesia's E-Commerce Industry Projected to Be Worth $53b by 2025 Jakarta Globe 3rd Dec 2018
The rise of e-commerce in Indonesia The ASEAN Post 29th Nov 2018
Indonesia's new 'heresy app' draws fire Rappler 27th Nov 2018
Indonesia Crunch | What the blockchain wants DealStreetAsia 11th Nov 2018
Malaysia government sets 20% annual growth target for e-commerce sector Investvine 3rd Dec 2018
National Cybersecurity policy for online threats being discussed The Star 3rd Dec 2018
Malaysia Influences SEA To Introduce The Digital Tax ValueWalk 2nd Dec 2018
Leveling the broadband playing field BorneoPost Online 1st Dec 2018
Malaysia's ride-hailing drivers must register for PSV licence from January Channel NewsAsia 27th Nov 2018
MCMC: Putrajaya looking to boost country’s digital infrastructure Malay Mail 23rd Nov 2018
Malaysian media group hit by ransomware attack: Report The Straits Times 14th Nov 2018
Malaysia must become tech producer, says Dr Mahathir The Malaysian Insight 11th Nov 2018
Tech-driving growth in Sarawak’s agriculture BorneoPost Online 10th Nov 2018
Parliament to Debate $95-Million S. Korean Loan for Gov’t Data Center The Irrawaddy 3rd Dec 2018
Answer plea vs 3rd telco bidding, SC orders government philstar.com 3rd Dec 2018
Intellectual Property policy for e-commerce mulled Manila Bulletin Business 2nd Dec 2018
It’s official: Gregorio Honasan is DICT chief MSN 27th Nov 2018
Mislatel officially declared 3rd telco Manila Bulletin Business 19th Nov 2018
[ANALYSIS] Disturbing red flags in the 3rd telco selection Rappler 15th Nov 2018
Telcos gear up for competition Malay Business Insight 15th Nov 2018
Senators oppose China Telecom The Manila Times Online 13th Nov 2018
Mobile number portability bill clears bicam Business World 13th Nov 2018
Disqualified telco bidders lose appeal Business World 13th Nov 2018
Failing cyber security test to cost Mislatel P26B BusinessMirror 12th Nov 2018
Improve staff awareness of cybersecurity, better incident response proposed as SingHealth COI ends Channel NewsAsia 6th Dec 2018
High Court orders Internet service providers to block access to TV box apps Channel NewsAsia 6th Dec 2018
Machine learning being used to detect fraud The New Paper 30th Nov 2018
Industry group here working on code for digital token sector The Straits Times 30th Nov 2018
Scam cases involving fraudulent subscription of mobile lines up 7 times The Straits Times 28th Nov 2018
Singapore shares rise as banks, tech stocks climb Nikkei Asian Review 26th Nov 2018
COI on SingHealth cyber attack: Change the way security incidents are reported, says CSA chief The Straits Times 14th Nov 2018
Collective cooperation needed against cyber threats, says US expert The Straits Times 13th Nov 2018
MAS, SGX leverage blockchain tech to settle tokenised assets The Business Times 12th Nov 2018
Singapore central bank chief warns of risks to data localisation measures The Star Online 12th Nov 2018
NBTC begins relaxing auction payment process Bangkok Post 4th Dec 2018
IoT regulations due next year Bangkok Post 26th Nov 2018
E-tax update on the cards Bangkok Post 24th Nov 2018
NBTC nudges MCOT for spectrum return Bangkok Post 23rd Nov 2018
Govt reveals digital transformation master plan Bangkok Post 22nd Nov 2018
Role of 5G put under scrutiny Bangkok Post 20th Nov 2018
World’s First Blockchain Voting Held in Thailand Cryptovest 14th Nov 2018
Thailand Govt Eyes Blockchain To Track Taxes PYMNTS.com 14th Nov 2018
Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Calls for More Cryptocurrency Regulations CCN 10th Nov 2018
MicroDragon satellite set for 2019 lift-off Viet Nam News 4th Dec 2018
Smart tourism: an inevitable trend Vietnam News Agency 3rd Dec 2018
Cybersecurity risks increase in Vietnam Vietnam Net Bridge 27th Nov 2018
MIC urges on customer information protection Vietnam News 24th Nov 2018
Global value chains a mixed bag for IT firms Vietnam News 23rd Nov 2018
Developing new technology industries in 4.0 era Vietnam News 22nd Nov 2018
Vietnam’s internet economy a “dragon being unleashed”: Google-Temasek Vietnam Net Bridge 21st Nov 2018
Time to digitise land management Vietnam News 17th Nov 2018
Open-sourced data considerably benefit Vietnam Vietnam Net Bridge 17th Nov 2018
Vietnam to pilot 5G service next year Vietnam Net Bridge 17th Nov 2018