The Thai authorities have joined hands to launch the Safe "Software, Safe Nation" campaign, intended to simultaneoulsy reduce the use of illegal and unlicensed software and address the constantly evolving cyber security threat.
Led by the Economic Crime Division (ECD) police, the campaign was supported by the Department of Intellectual Property and the Association of Thai Software Industry. Together, these organisations seek to gain greater cooperation from the public sector and private sector to enhance security. Police will crackdown on corporate users and sellers of illegal software.
“Using legal software is one of the first steps in improving cyber security,” said ECD Deputy Commander, Pol Col Kittisak Plathong. “And in addition to this there must be awareness about how to improve security, there must be training and information for people to protect themselves.”
Under the campaign, practical advice and international best practices will be provided on how to use and manage software to protect the business community and the general public against malware attacks and other risks. This campaign will invoke the nation’s shared responsibility in creating a legal and safe cyber environment.
A study by IDC found that there is a strong positive correlation (0.79) between the presence of unlicensed software and the likelihood of encountering malware. By comparison, the correlation between education and income is 0.77. Thailand is Asean’s second-riskiest country for cyberattack activity after Indonesia. Of the 4,300 incidents last year, 35 percent were perpetrated by malicious software code, 26 per cent by fraud and 23 per cent by intrusion.
Last year, attacks on Thai government web sites increased by 30 per cent.
After years of tough actions, Thailand has witnessed a decline in unlicensed software. The decline is among the fastest in the Asean region over the last decade. Today, approximately 71 per cent of the software installed on personal computers in Thailand is not properly licensed.
“We need greater reductions in the use of illegal and unlicensed software. The rate of 71 per cent is still well above Asia Pacific’s average rate of 62 percent,” said Kittisak. “High levels of pirated software in Thailand also threaten national security and the stability of commerce in Thailand. We must crack down on companies who use pirated software and businesses that sell pirated software.”
Each week companies report losses due to cyber crime and cyber fraud amounting to millions of baht.
Banks also have faced direct threats from cyber criminals. Last year a group of cyber criminals attenpted to extort Thai banks, promising attacks if a ransom was not paid. The banks got through the ordeal with their security intact. But threats to the business community will continue to grow.
Last year, ECD found nearly Bt500 million of illegal and unlicensed software installed on computer of 214 business organisations, nearly 20 per cent higher than 2014. This indicates that corporations and management need to have a better level of understanding about the Copyright Act, the associated legal penalties for infringement and critical implications to their businesses.
Somporn Maneeratanakul, president of Association of Thai Software Industry (ATSI), said cybercriminals occasionally find vulnerabilities in software, and without patches to fix these vulnerabilities, computers are vulnerable to malware attacks. Businesses using unlicensed software will not be able to receive these legitimate updates.”
“Malware could be used as spyware to report critical information, trade secrets, financial information and employee’s personal information,” said Somporn.