Five reasons why cybersecurity will be a red hot topic in 2018

From futuristic warfare to old-fashioned scams, these are the trends driving the rapidly growing demand for heightened cyber security, says Parinya Jutasen, Head of Information Security Unit at dtac.

Information security has changed radically in the past 10 years. There are more criminals, more attacks and they are more sophisticated. As a result, cybersecurity experts are highly in demand. But it also means everyone is affected by these growing risks. Here are some of the key trends shaping our field in the year ahead.


Cybersecurity is traditionally considered a hard digital skill, because there is obviously a strong technical aspect to it. But it’s actually never been a profession that operates in a silo. You always need to work with others to develop the security for their project, whether they are in finance, marketing or sales. So it’s also a very collaborative job that calls for soft digital skills, such as a customer-centric approach and organizational dexterity. The need for cybersecurity specialists who can balance all those aspects will only grow.


Inside companies, everything is going digital, which brings new opportunities but also new risks. dtac’s marketing team, for example, now uses big data and AIs, which wasn’t the case a couple years ago. The volume of that data is huge, and its safety is paramount. Hackers are using AI, too, which means we need to keep up with them. Luckily, our collaboration with Telenor means we have access to world-class technology and training.


On the consumer side, the major change is the increasing digitization of our lifestyle. We now shop, communicate and make financial transactions on our mobile devices with unprecedented frequency. That’s a lot more sensitive data being shared than ever before. And it’s only going to get more sensitive. With the Internet of Things, everything from your shoes to your refrigerator will be online. Today, people choose their telco based on speed of network. Tomorrow, it might be based on safety, too.


I believe it’s the role of telecommunications operators to help educate their customers on how to avoid phishing scams. Currently, people fall prey to even basic social engineering, where a scammer impersonates a friend, and contacts you via Line to say they need money urgently due to an emergency.

Today, children and the elderly use phones, too, so it’s important to reach everyone. At dtac, we’ve started paying more attention to these people as part of our mission to empower society with mobile connectivity. We have programs that reached over 25,000 children on online safety, and we also reach out to remote areas to upgrade the digital skills of those communities, many of which have a higher number of elderly people than in urban centers. And of course, we have to educate our own staff continuously to maintain their level of awareness and best practices. In 2018, information security education will therefore be critical.


You’ve seen the headlines about Russia and North Korea. Cyberwarfare is now being taken very seriously. Consequently, telecommunication companies are now officially considered critical infrastructure, joining air, sea, land and space as the fifth dimension of operations in the theater of war. That means we’ll increasingly need to work with regulators to ensure we’re compliant with the nation’s defense imperatives.

Beyond defense, telcos are have also become critical to financial transactions, meaning we will have to soon work more closely with the Bank of Thailand and the Stock Exchange of Thailand, too. Health is also becoming increasingly dependent on the Internet of Things. On a connected medical device, cybersecurity can literally become a matter of life and death.

If I had one piece of advice for the year ahead, it would be that information security is everyone’s responsibility. Everyone needs to contribute.

img_62771.jpgParinya Jutasen is Head of Information Security Unit at dtac.

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