HUAWEI TECHNOLOGIES Co., Ltd. said the global community needs to step up efforts to stop cyber crimes as countries starting to adopt the fifth generation (5G) of cellular technology may become more vulnerable to attacks.

“Too few people are prosecuted for cyber offenses. The global community needs to work together better to shut them down, because as we move to the 5G , the global community is going to be much more dependent on information and communications technologies,” Andy Purdy, chief security officer at Huawei Technologies USA, said in an online forum last week.

“Because if the bad guys decide, they can shut things down… We’re going to be vulnerable if we don’t step up and do what is necessary now,” he added.

He said emerging technologies are driving digital growth while bringing new challenges to cyber security and privacy protection. New technologies such as the cloud, 5G, IoT (Internet of Things), and AI (artificial intelligence), among others, bring new opportunities, he added.

“Cloudification enables resource sharing and service platforms transform from closed platforms to open platforms, while AI and big data power the in-depth mining of information,” Mr. Purdy said.

He said mobile networks and sensors also help users achieve “high-density interconnection.”

Among the challenges Mr. Purdy cited were the “traditional boundaries for protection,” which he described as becoming “increasingly blurred”; more complex data processing and the increasing risk of data leaks; and the larger “attack surface” and the increasing vulnerabilities.

He added the mobile industry also requires a global and mutually recognized security evaluation framework.

“We have to reduce the frequency, impact, and risk of malicious activities… Governments will need to work with telecoms, mobile operators, and internet services providers to drain the swamp of malicious activities,” Mr. Purdy said.

Internet security firm Kaspersky said recently that ransomware attacks against small and medium businesses in the Philippines had dropped by 49% or 9,701 in the first six months of the year, from 18,997 attempts detected in the same period last year.

Kaspersky said ransomware attacks in Southeast Asia have actually declined to 1 million in the first half from last year’s 1.4 million.

However, businesses should remain vigilant, as “prolific attacks may always fly under our radar and we need to continue to watch out for them,” Yeo Siang Tiong, Kaspersky’s general manager for Southeast Asia, said in a recent statement. — Arjay L. Balinbin