By Asina Pornwasin,
Five-year programme to regulate cyber security, rapid responses
The government launched a national effort yesterday to regulate cyber security and implement measures against possible cyber attacks. The five-year programme is the first such action in Thailand.
Taking part in yesterday’s first-ever meeting of the National Cyber Security Committee, Information and Communications Technology Minister Anudith Nakornthap said three key strategies being drafted would focus on integration of national cyber security, capacity building for rapid response to cyber attacks, and protection of computer and online infrastructure.
Five smaller strategies include cooperation between the private and public sectors to solidify the efforts. The strategies and measures will be worked out under coordination of the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA).
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who chaired the meeting yesterday, expressed concerns about extensive Internet use and abuse that would violate Internet users’ rights apart from national cyber security, Anudith said. But the PM did not speak publicly about the move after the meeting.
ETDA director Surangkhana Vayuparb said there were 1,475 random intrusions into state-run databases and websites from January to May this year, plus 750 malware intrusions, and 750 phishing efforts in the same period.
“The situation is under control in general but the public should be advised further on how to handle threats coming online,” she said.
To promote the efforts, there is a campaign to initially alert state agencies and teach them how to identify cyber attacks and tell them how to respond. It says computers under attack are not to be touched or tampered with, and local area connections must be discontinued. Reports to superiors and requests for advice should made through hotline number 1212, operated by the Thai Computer Emergency Response Team (ThaiCERT).
Government websites have been attacked several times electronically in recent months. In a high-profile case last month the PM’s Office Ministry site was defaced with a profane phrase about Yingluck posted on it.
A source familiar with online legal cases said he learned that the national committee was set up without any law supporting its operations or even existence, and in direct response to the widely-known defacing.
“It serves in the same way the Centre for Resolution of the Emergency Situation [set up in 2010 to handle the red-shirt protest] coped with online situations hostile to the current government,” he said.
The source expected police to take part in this national effort later, utilising its authority and jurisdiction to devise the plans. “I believe there are hidden agendas behind the setting up of these efforts,” he added.
There are two possible steps for this national effort to continue – one by amending the Computer Crimes Act to give more punch to the government, and the other by consolidating authorities handling online crimes and operations – like the ETDA and the E Government scheme, both of which are under supervision of the ICT, the source commented.