Malaysia beefs up IT security laws

The Malaysian government is set to introduce yet another law to safeguard personal privacy in cyberspace.

National Information Technology Council (NITC) Secretary Datuk Tengku Mohd Azzman Shariffadeen confirmed that the Attorney-General's chambers is currently drafting the penalties for the soon-to-be-introduced Personal Data Protection Act.

He said the Act would regulate the collection, holding, processing and use of personal data by any person to provide protection to an individual's personal data as well as to safeguard personal privacy.

Of late, many Malaysian organizations, government and private sectors, communities and individuals have been experiencing some form of security breaches from virus to denial of service attacks daily.

According to the National ICT Security and Emergency Response Centre (NISER) statistics, from August 1997 to March this year, Malaysia has experienced 1,713 security cases with an average of 400 incidents a year.

The Government last Tuesday officially launched NISER to provide Malaysia with an effective agency that looks after IT security issues in a more comprehensive manner, covering both reactive and proactive measures.

NISER operates through collaboration with the government, private sector, communities and all parties in addressing IT security issues. The center is impartial and does not have any policing or regulatory roles. It provides expert opinions and becomes the coordination center for other computer emergency response teams (CERTs) in the country and represents the country at International forums.

Its services include IT incident response, technology research and vulnerability assessments, IT security policy development, computer forensics, security assurance or products and personnel, acculturation programs and community services such as announcement lists, interest groups and interactive e-forums.

The existing Malaysian Computer Emergency Response Team (MyCERT), which has been in operation since 1997, is absorbed into NISER with its original incident response charter and name intact.

MyCERT has been handling the growing number of security incidents in Malaysia.

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