Cyber security
People pose in front of a display showing the word 'cyber' in binary code, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica December 27, 2014. Reuters/Dado Ruvic

Almost 60 percent of cybersecurity professionals from Asia fear that malicious attacks on the horizon, according to new research. Almost 70 percent of respondents expect an attack that would affect critical infrastructure across various Asian countries within the next two years.

Such concerns are highlighted in Black Hat Asia’s research report titled “Cybersecurity Risk in Asia.” The report is based on a poll of about 100 current and former attendees at Black Hat Asia.

Security professionals who participated in the study are concerned that recent incidents in their region may be a sign of a major breach of critical infrastructure. Previous attacks in Asia and the Middle East have spanned damage to industrial control systems. Asia has witnessed mass attacks through malware as well as attacks with particular objectives like data theft or extortion through ransomware.

Due to these trends along with other reasons, nearly 60 percent of respondents cited targeted attacks as their biggest concern, particularly malicious actors in Russia, China and North Korea. As to how cybersecurity strategies fail in Asia, some respondents believe it was due to a shortage of skilled professionals.

Over 30 percent of respondents believe the main reason cybersecurity strategies fail in Asia is due to a scarcity of skilled professionals. Such shortage, along with a lack of budget, makes for what appears to be a dangerous combination. As a result, several Asian security organisations appear doubtful in their ability to protect their organizations’ data from cyber-attack.

The findings of the report also include Asia-based security professionals being more willing to job-hop than their counterparts in Europe and the United States. Over 50 percent of Asian cybersecurity professionals said they are actively looking for a new job or are open to looking for a new job.

According to the HIMSS Analytics and Symantec IT Security and Risk Management report, risky cyber security gaps still loom. Provider confidence in their ability to stop an attack is flat despite indications that risk management in the healthcare space is maturing.

Individuals can only do so much to increase their security: use a VPN, keep their devices up-to-date, enable two-factor authentication for select accounts, and only use strong passwords. But if there is a lack of trained cybersecurity professionals, both users and businesses will suffer severe consequences.

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