Fighting against cyber threats and piracy

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Threats to cybersecurity can no longer be put on the back burner, given how immense the financial dangers and reputational risks they pose have become. The same goes for piracy, which continues to hurt the livelihoods of many creative professionals. The burning question now is how they can be effectively curbed.

During a discussion about cybersecurity at the first BusinessWorld IR 4.0 Summit on Sept. 9, Angel Redoble, first vice-president and chief information security officer of PLDT Group, Smart Communications and ePLDT Group, said: “Without cybersecurity, I would say the future is doomed. And cybersecurity is not just about people stealing other people’s information. It’s not just about someone spying or bullying other people. It’s also a national security issue.”

Those who commit cybercrimes nowadays aren’t simply basement-dwelling hackers. “The adversary has become more difficult,” said Anton Bonifacio, chief information security officer of Globe Telecom. “It’s either highly organized crime groups or at worse it is nation-states.” In an increasingly globalized and digitally interconnected world, everyone, including small commercial entities and ordinary Internet users, runs the risk of getting harmed.

It’s now important that in the digital age businesses realize “the value that having more secure operations, of really embracing cybersecurity,” unlocks for them, and see cybersecurity as part of improved customer experience, Mr. Bonifacio noted. He also suggested: “Ask for help. And the sooner that we ask the right questions and reach out to the right people, the better off I think we’ll all be.”

For her part, Genalyn Macalinao, policy lead of the critical infrastructure evaluation and cybersecurity standard monitoring at the Department of Information and Communications Technology, noted that one of the 12 national security goals of the current administration is the provision of strong cyber infrastructure and cybersecurity and that in the national cybersecurity plan of their agency, protection of businesses is an imperative.

And for businesses to further protect themselves, they don’t necessarily have to splurge on expensive technologies. “Technology will always be there. However, there are certain information security policies that we can put in place in our organizations as a start. For example, what is your policy on the use of USB? What is your policy on BYOT [bring your own technology]? What is your policy on access management? These things do not require expensive technologies; these are simple security measures,” Ms. Macalinao said. She also emphasized the need to foster a culture of valuing privacy and security among digital consumers.

Meanwhile, at a piracy-focused panel discussion at the same summit, Louis Boswell, chief executive officer of the Asia Video Industry Association, said the move to the Internet as a means of distribution for videos “is opening up a world of opportunity.” “First of all, it means that we’re watching more videos than we ever have done before. And we’re seeing the result of that being a golden age of video,” he said, adding that video producers, whether big television companies or independent studios, are also creating more videos.

But that move has proved to be a double-edged sword. “The biggest challenge for the industry today is that as we all move to using the Internet as the preeminent means of distribution, it is easier today than ever before for our content to be stolen,” Mr. Boswell said. “Video piracy — what I like to call content theft — is easier today.” He added that without respect for copyright, their industry will be “in perilous times.”

Mr. Boswell still believes that there needs to be an open Internet. “But we also need to recognize that the Internet needs to be managed ethically and it needs to be managed responsibly.”

“We need to do more. As an industry we need to sit down together. And we’ve got to sit down with the government to make sure that we’re all on the same page so that we can protect the creative industry in the Philippines.”

The Optical Media Board, according to its chairman Anselmo Adriano, hasn’t stopped going after pirates, and they are also now targeting online sellers of devices preloaded with illegally downloaded content and cracking down on the use of illegal streaming devices. Neil Gane, general manager of the Coalition Against Piracy, cited research that found that Filipinos have “an unhealthy appetite for piracy.”

Globe has taken an educational approach to tackling piracy. According to Jill Go, vice-president for content portfolio development and partner management at the company, it has an anti-piracy advocacy that aims to increase people’s awareness of the perils that illegally obtained content may pose, including identity theft and malware, and make them realize that they are actually hurting the livelihoods of countless individuals in the creative industry.

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