By Agbayani P. Pingol II, Assistant editor, BW University

Cybercrimes affect business confidence in PHL: Fortinet

Posted on July 21, 2015

THE current ‘reactive’ state of cybersecurity in the Philippines, which leaves businesses vulnerable to evolving cyber threats “has an impact in terms of business confidence and investors’ confidence,” said officials of American network security company Fortinet.

“Although we have the PHCERT (Philippine Computer Emergency Response Team), we are still in the state of reactive cybersecurity.

Most of our authorities can only [react] after the attack -- they can only do investigations and sue the perpetrators,” Nap S. Castillo, Fortinet Regional Pre-Sales Consultant, said in an interview with BusinessWorld.

“We have anti-cybercrime groups and they are quite technically adept but they’re not on the same level as that of the hackers,” he added.

Conversely, he believes that having a proactive state of cybersecurity “can help boost the confidence of more investors,” by protecting business-critical assets amid the evolution of cyber threats on a global level.

In a threat landscape report published in 2014, Fortinet alludes the proliferation of malware, bots, and viruses to the development of mobile devices.

“As technologies advance, and more devices connect to the Internet, the opportunities for those that may wish to inflict harm have increased exponentially,” the report said.

For Mr. Castillo, the risks are higher on the industrial scale because some power grids around the world are already connected to the Internet. “It can bring down an economy,” he said.

Fortinet believes that changing the mind-sets of institutions is key to containing these cybersecurity threats. “A lot of organizations look at security as ‘I’ve done all of these, now I need to think about security.’

It’s a ‘by-the-way’ kind of solution. “

“You need to prioritize which components are more important than others, and which ones they can practice a strategy whereby they can zone out segments such that other segments, if compromised, does not leak,” said Alvin Rodrigues, Fortinet Market Development Director for Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

“Think of it as a ship, you have different compartments in the ship.

The engine room has the tightest security to prevent any leakage. And [if there’s a leakage in the ship], it will close up some compartments so that the whole ship doesn’t sink,” he added.

Mr. Rodrigues advised business from all industries so long as there are “crown jewels -- things that drive business continuity, profitability, market growth, intellectually property” to be stolen to invest in beefing up security of their networks.

“Hackers will go after the easiest prey. So if you make it difficult for them to hack into your organization, they’ll go after somebody else,” he added.