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[] Cyber-Threat in Malaysia,

New Straits Times (Kuala Lumpur), 10.6.2002

Najib outlines cyberspace threat to military networks

by Jasbir Singh
jasbir -!
- nstp -
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June 10: The Nimda virus, which attacked a 17,831 computers in 
Malaysia between August and October 2000, and cost RM22 million to 
eradicate and to carry out repairs, is one of many threats in 

Another survey by the United States Government has found that the 
Pentagon's systems that contain sensitive but unclassified information 
had been illegally accessed via networks 250,000 times and only 150 
intrusions were detected.

These, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, reflected on the 
new realities faced by Governments, businesses and communities as they 
moved on-line and became increasingly reliant on computer networks.

He said although Malaysia has yet to experience serious security 
threats by terrorists via the internet, preparations have to be made 
to ensure the integrity of its networks.

Najib said while cyber terrorism was not an imminent threat and 
hackers so far were disinterested in causing violence, severe economic 
or social harm, things could change with devastating effects in a 
highly networked environment.

Delivering a keynote address at the Jagat Cyber Law seminar series, 
Najib said at present, terrorists have started using the cyberspace 
for traditional forms of terrorism.

Websites are used to spread messages and recruit supporters and the 
internet is a means for communicating and coordinating their action... 
it would not be long before the merger between terrorist and hackers 
starts escalating.

He said the Government was aware of such a threat and to that end, has 
set up the National Information Security Council at the national level 
and various departments at the lower levels of its organisations.

The vulnerability to attacks on information could jeopardise national 
and economic security, which could in turn lead to financial losses 
and impact the confidentiality, integrity and availability of 

Najib said the threat of cyber-terrorism grew greater as more 
governments, businesses and communities moved into cyberspace and 
exposed themselves to the risk of virus and attacks by hackers.

He said the risk was further intensified as the independent networks 
belonging to governments, businesses and communities are interlinked 
to enable real-time communication, information sharing and electronic 

Virtually any person on the net can acquire the hardware and software 
needed to attack systems and network infrastructure.

In addition, there are many hackers on the Internet who could be the 
source of expertise for any nation or terrorist organisation.

Therefore, he said, there was a dire need for a global consensus on 
the definition of cyber terrorism.

Nations need to start sharing information on potential threats and 
weaknesses and develop processes to overcome them.

The process, he said, will also require the harmonisation of laws on 
terrorism, effective enforcement and sharing of expertise.

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