A forum in Taipei on cybersecurity for financial institutions yesterday took on new urgency as the worldwide cyberattacks involving the ransomware known as WannaCry continued.
Hosted by the Taiwan Academy of Banking and Finance, the forum attracted attendees from the Computer Audit Association, Akamai Technologies and several financial institutions.
Academy president Chang Shao-pin (張紹斌) said the 1997 Asian financial crisis led to tighter regulatory control over the financial sector by the government.
“It is possible that the government will apply the same high level of regulatory control to the information technology sector,” Chang said.
Akamai cybertechnologies expert Michael Smith said many countries, including Taiwan, are integrating information technologies with the financial sector for convenience.
However, accessing financial services on personal devices also opens individuals’ and institutions’ data to cyberattacks, he said.
By 2020, there will be 50 billion devices in use worldwide, each having significant troves of data storage and many equipped with sensors that automatically collect information, Smith said.
With the increasing sophistication of hackers, any device could be targeted by attacks, he said.
Information security is a complete ecology comprised of device manufacturers, consumers and service providers, and each component has to be insulated against attacks or the entire system could be compromised, he said.
Taiwan has become a frequent target of cyberattacks because the nation produces information technology equipment, and breaching one piece of equipment enables attackers to compromise all remaining pieces through the initial success, he said.
Smith said many Taiwanese have poor cybersecurity practices, adding that he has seen a lot of Internet cafes and users of pirated software who are still using Windows XP.
Many of those who have fallen victim to WannaCry attacks have been institutions or individuals who failed to update their software, or those users whose operating systems are obsolete, he said.
“Not updating your software is the cyber equivalent of not brushing your teeth,” Smith said.
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