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Cyber security appetite grows in Asia-Pacific
Robust AI, cloud use, increasing attacks prompt need for regional solutions, ecosystem
Jayde Cheung 17 Jun 2024

The shift to fully digitalized information makes all companies more prone to cyber security threats. In Asia, where economic growth relies heavily on tech-associated businesses, cyber attacks have reached record levels prompting an expansion in the regional cyber safety market with an eye to incubating more advanced technological solutions to grapple with these attacks.

In the Asia-Pacific last year, there were more than 30,000 security incidents, according to the Data Breach Investigation Report by cyber attack solution provider Verizon Business, with that figure representing an increase of over 80% from that of 2022. And, underscoring the growing threat facing businesses in the region, the trend of increasing attacks is expected to continue this year.

This staggering number of cyber incidents is sounding alarm bells, increasing fears that if the issue of these attacks isn’t addressed, the region’s financial competitiveness could be threatened and, eventually, start to erode investor confidence in it.

As a result, emerging markets located in the region, which are often criticized for their poorly managed data security systems, are being urged to increase their efforts to combat cyber attacks by boosting security.

For example, Vietnam, a key regional emerging economy, was hit by a monthly average of 1,160 cyber attacks in 2023, finds the Vietnam Cyber Security Summary Report, with the victims spanning a spectrum of both government and business entities.

To cope with this country-wide cyber security peril, the East Asian Bureau of Economic Research has urged Vietnam to adopt more pre-emptive measures and smarter strategies.

AI, cloud concerns

In addition to the fact that hacking techniques have matured over time, cyber criminals are widening the scope of their attacks to include more of the advanced technologies commonly used among corporates nowadays, namely cloud-based systems and artificial intelligence (AI). These technologies can increasingly represent a double-edged sword: on the one hand, providing the essential components required to understand customers, streamline operations and improve efficiency; on the other, requiring increases in cyber attack protective measures.

Cloud-related threats are the top concerns of more than half of the Asia-Pacific business executives surveyed on the subject by PwC, while 60% are worried about generative AI being leveraged this year as a weapon for cyber attacks.

These concerns have given rise to a strong demand for revamped cyber attack prevention solutions. Asia-Pacific investment in security-associated hardware, software and services, according to International Data Corporation (IDC) research, is forecast to grow by a robust 12% from 2023 to US$36 billion in 2024, underpinned by enthusiastic investors from the financial services, government and telecommunications sectors.

“The surge in cyber threats using AI – such as deepfakes, pretexting, and identity theft – has spurred a heightened demand for comprehensive security solutions in the region,” says Sharad Kotagi, an IDC market analyst, “that encompasses threat detection, automated remediation and behavioural analysis capabilities.”

The cyber security market in Asia-Pacific is projected to expand steadily, with Indian market insights company Mordor Intelligence estimating that it will scale up from US$65.28 billion in 2024 to US$124.05 billion by 2029, driven predominantly by demand from China, India, Singapore and Japan.

Developing solutions

With the demand, multiple cyber security technologies are also developing. Because of the prevailing use of cloud computing, Mordor Intelligence forecasts that cloud deployment technology will be at the centre of solutions development, particularly given that cloud adoption in India alone has doubled between 2020 and 2022.

And, in addition to using AI to identify hidden threats, solution providers are also using zero trust architecture (applying user validation on every stage of digital interaction) and threat-informed intelligence to strengthen protection in the corporate cyber space.

With the constant improvement in cyber safety awareness, a number of Asian start-ups are riding the boom to establish a stronger presence in the space. Among them, Horangi Cyber Security, a partner of the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, has created its cloud-related threat informative software, which has helped to address cyber talent shortages and serves a range of prominent local corporates, including the delivery and ride-hailing superapp Gojek and the Asia Pacific Exchange in Singapore.

While AI is still commonly used in deciphering security loopholes, Korea’s AI-powered company StealthMole investigates the dark web to identify potential threat trends at their early stages. By delving into the origin of the malicious sources, the dark web-derived solution provides an avenue for government and companies to be more proactive in protecting their data and cyber safety.

At a time when the internet and data have become integral parts of institutional operations, Asia-Pacific entities should use the existing resources to the fullest to create a self-sufficient cyber security ecosystem to support regional demand.

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