The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES) of Thailand and Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) of Japan jointly announced the preparation for the establishment of ASEAN-Japan Cybersecurity Capacity Building Centre (AJCCBC) in Thailand.
ETDA revealed 3 courses to prepare cybersecurity workforce in ASEAN for the rising threats of cyber-attacks.
Officials are confident that after the launch in June, the Centre will play the key role in mitigating cybercrime in this region as well as getting ready for the establishment of ASEAN-CERT.
This project has received funding from Japan (JAIF: Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund) and supports in terms of technical expertise to enable effective delivery of cyber training for ASEAN Member States.
The objective of the project is to develop cybersecurity workforce particularly in governmental agencies and Critical Information Infrastructure operators in ASEAN with the aims to enhance cybersecurity awareness, strengthen information security and data protection, and promote information sharing.
All elements are essential to the development of standardized Incident Reporting Framework across the region and the establishment of ASEAN-CERT, which are in line with the ASEAN ICT Master Plan 2020 Strategic Thrust 8: Information Security and Assurance.
The fact that Thailand has been selected as the host is advantageous.
First, it stresses the importance of cybersecurity workforce development.
Second, it offers a great opportunity for Thailand to learn and adapt international practices in cybersecurity workforce development to benefit the country. Finally, it allows Thailand to build a network of cybersecurity experts in ASEAN for better cooperation in the future.
“MDES has been working in parallel with ASEAN and Japan. While Japan is preparing for financial capital, Thailand is proceeding with the approval of project detail that is under review by ASEAN and Japan. In the meantime, Thailand is getting the people, process, and location ready to take immediate action upon approval of the budget. This includes action plan, course curriculum, and other logistics. We expect to officially launch the Centre this June and conduct the first training for ASEAN altogether” said Dr. Pichet.
Surangkana Wayuparb, CEO of ETDA stated that the Centre is going to deliver cybersecurity training every two months or at least six times a year targeting government officials and Critical Information Infrastructure personnel.
The courses to be conducted are
1) CYDER (Cyber Defense Exercise with Recurrence) focuses on handling cybersecurity incidents. CYDER is a successful course that has been adopted by the Government of Japan to train cybersecurity personnel across the country during the past five years with over 5,000 participants from more than 1,500 organizations.
2) Forensics deals with digital evidence of cyber-attacks.
3) Malware Analysis covers the analysis of various types of malware according to the trend of cyber threats. All courses are designed to allow participants to learn the theory and to have hands-on practices. The contents will be updated at least yearly to keep up with the evolving cyber threats.
Moreover, the Centre will also organize the annual Cyber SEA Game, which is a regional cybersecurity contest to nurture youth and young professionals in the field. The winning team will get a seat to attend international competition in Japan. Overall, the Centre aims to develop at least 700 cybersecurity personnel in ASEAN in four years.
During the initial 4 years of this project, Japan will help ASEAN develop cybersecurity personnel and provide essential knowledge transfer for the long-term management and sustainability of this Centre. The future of this Centre is not a decision for Thailand to make alone, it is a consideration for the entire ASEAN to discuss and decide.
Thailand will continue to promote and support this Centre by exploring future partnership and sponsorship from other sources such as ASEAN dialogue partners, private companies, and ASEAN ICT Fund. The Centre will ensure that ASEAN cybersecurity personnel are well equipped with knowledge and skills to defend against the advancement of cyber-attacks. Most importantly, the Centre will be a long-term benefit to all ASEAN Member States.
Assessing the economic impacts of COVID-19 on ASEAN countries
All ASEAN countries are dependent on tourism flows but Thailand is probably the most dependent.
Author: Jayant Menon, ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
The COVID-19 pandemic is first and foremost a human tragedy. Measures introduced to deal with the pandemic could save lives but are having wide-ranging economic effects and inducing economic contagion.
There are already studies estimating the economic impact of the virus. But greater focus is needed on the transmission mechanisms of the economic contagion and in critiquing how assessments of the economic impacts are made, concentrating on the ASEAN region.
The effects of COVID-19 are hitting ASEAN economies at a time when other risk factors, such as a global growth slowdown, were already rising.
COVID-19 is disrupting tourism and travel, supply chains and labour supply
Uncertainty is driving negative sentiment. This all affects trade, investment and output, which in turn affects growth. Tourism and business travel, as well as related industries, especially airlines and hotels, were the first to be affected. And the conditions are worsening as more countries go into shutdown.
The supply disruptions emanating mostly from China will reverberate throughout the value chain and disrupt production. Since China is the regional hub and accounts for 12 per cent of global trade in parts and components, the cost of the disruption in the short run will be high.
The negative effects of quarantine arrangements on labour supply could also be high depending on duration and sector. Manufacturing has been hit harder than service industries, where telecommuting and other technological aids limit the fall in productivity.
All these disruptions will lead to sharp declines in domestic demand. And their impact on economic growth will further propagate these disruptions. This compounding effect can magnify and extend short-run effects into the long run.
The highest economic cost could come from the intangibles
The effects of negative sentiment about growth and general uncertainty — which is already affecting financial markets — will feed into reduced investment, consumption and growth in the long run.
Rolling recessions around the world now appear inevitable, despite the stimulus measures being contemplated. If so, there will be sharp increases in unemployment and poverty. Some degree of decoupling from China, or de-globalisation in general, may also be a permanent reminder of this pandemic.
Among ASEAN countries, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand are heavily integrated in regional supply chains and will be the most affected by a reduction in demand for the goods produced within them. Indonesia and the Philippines have been increasing supply chain engagement and will also not be immune.
Vietnam is the only new ASEAN member integrated into supply chains with China and is already suffering severe supply disruptions.
Given time, supply-side adjustments will alter trade and investment patterns. The main adjustment will involve relocating certain activities along the supply chain from China to ASEAN countries. Although the pandemic will disrupt the relocation phase, ASEAN countries can benefit from the new investments, mitigating overall negative impacts.
Thailand is probably the most tourism dependent Asean country
All ASEAN countries are dependent on tourism flows but Thailand is probably the most dependent. Cambodia and Laos receive most of their investment and aid from China, and a marked growth slowdown in China will affect them the most.
The Philippines and Mekong countries have large overseas foreign worker populations and restrictions on their movement or employment prospects as COVID-19 spreads will affect sending and receiving countries. Brunei and Malaysia are net oil exporters and the price war indirectly induced by the pandemic will hit them hard. Others will benefit from lower oil prices, as will the struggling transport sector.
In measuring the impacts of COVID-19, it is important to separate its marginal impact from observed outcomes. This is important because the remedy may vary depending on the cause of the disruption. This requires an analytical framework that can measure deviations from a baseline scenario that incorporates pre-existing trends. A model-based analysis, rather than casual empiricism, is required to reduce the problem.
Even before the outbreak, risks of a global growth slowdown were rising
The restructuring of regional supply chains had started, driven initially by rising wages in China and accelerated by the US–China trade war. While COVID-19 may further hasten the pace and extent of the restructuring, it is only partly responsible for what may happen. It would be misleading to attribute all of the current disruption to COVID-19. Had the trade war not preceded it, COVID-19 may have resulted in greater disruption to supply chains.
Any assessment of impacts must recognise that the spread of COVID-19 is unpredictable, and so too the response by governments. It is difficult to estimate the impacts of a shock that is uncertain in itself. This reiterates the need for rigorous modelling and scenario analyses. The current trend points to risks rising, often accelerating, as with previous epidemics. This uncertainty underscores the need for caution in assessing, and regular recalibration in producing assessments.
Jayant Menon is a Visiting Senior Fellow in the Regional Economic Studies Programme at the ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore.
A version of this article first appeared in ISEAS Commentary.
This article is part of an EAF special feature series on the novel coronavirus crisis and its impact.
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