Cyberspace has become the newest arena for geopolitical contestation. Nation-states are exploiting each other’s dependence on information, communication and digital technologies to breach computer networks, harvest sensitive data and proprietary information and disrupt critical national infrastructure operations. This brief examines cybersecurity threats in the Asia-Pacific. It describes how cyberattacks fuelled by geopolitical rivalries pose a new threat to the region’s security establishments. With over two billion internet users, the Asia-Pacific region is amidst a digital revolution, harnessing technology for economic growth and national transformation. Yet, surging cybersecurity incidents imperil the pace of this revolution and threaten regional security.
Governments in the region have implemented several measures to tackle these cyber threats, including cybersecurity policies, legislations and sector-specific regulations. Some inter-governmental collaborations like the Quad and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) are also addressing these issues. Yet the rising tide of attacks, ransomware incidents and data breaches underlines the need to do more. This policy brief offers some pathways for regional governments to strengthen cyber resilience.
About the Author
Sameer Patil is Senior Fellow, Centre for Security, Strategy and Technology, Observer Research Foundation, India. His work focuses on the intersection of technology and national security, including cybersecurity. Dr Patil also serves as India Commissioner for the Global Tech Security Commission, set up by the Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue and the Atlantic Council. Prior to joining ORF, he was at Gateway House, a Mumbai-based foreign policy think tank. He has previously worked at the National Security Council Secretariat, Government of India. He is the author of Securing India in the Cyber Era (Routledge, London & New York, 2022) and co-editor of Moving Forward EU-India Relations: The Significance of the Security Dialogues (Edizioni Nuova Cultura, Rome, 2017). Dr Patil has participated in several Track 1 and Track 1.5 dialogues, including India-U.S. and India-U.K. Strategic Intelligence Dialogues, which were convened after the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, and the India-U.K. Track 1.5 Cyber Dialogue in 2017. He is a recipient of the Australian Government’s prestigious Canberra Fellowship in 2019.
The opinions articulated above represent the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Asia-Pacific Leadership Network or any of its members.
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