McAfee offers to assist PH implement DICT cybersecurity plan

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By Edd K. Usman

Internet firm McAfee has offered to help the Philippines implement its five-year national cybersecurity plan, which the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) unveiled in May.

Photo shows (from left) McAfee Asia Pacific SVP and president Gavin Struthers, McAfee Asia Pacific head of pre-sales Daryush Ashjari, and Wordtext Systems Inc. president Juan G. Chua
Photo shows (from left) McAfee Asia Pacific SVP and president Gavin Struthers, McAfee Asia Pacific head of pre-sales Daryush Ashjari, and Wordtext Systems Inc. president Juan G. Chua

McAfee executives made the offer during a media briefing on May 25 in Makati City organized by its local distributor Wordtext Systems Inc. (WSI).

At the press event, McAfee assured local enterprises that they will benefit from its increased investments in the latest technology and tactics on cyberwarfare and cybercrime campaigns.

The company sees stronger collaboration with local stakeholders in fighting cybercrimes in-country. Gavin Struthers, SVP and president of McAfee Asia Pacific, made clear his company’s desire to be part of the country?s cybersecurity framework.

“We offer our assistance to the Philippine government to work with them and other organizations and institutions that work collectively in the community,” he said.

In an interview, Struthers cited the importance of collaboration. “Together is power is what we believe the industry needs. We want to work with the DICT and explore areas where they may need our expertise,” said Struthers.

During the briefing, he noted the low ranking of the Philippines in terms of “cyber maturity” in a study conducted by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).

Of the 23 countries in the study, Struthers said the Philippines ranked 14th, with only three of the 10 members of the Asean below the Philippines, namely Cambodia at 15th; Myanmar at 17th; and Laos at 20th.

Six Asean countries ranked higher in cyber maturity than the Philippines, particularly Brunei at 13th; Indonesia at 12th; Vietnam at 11th; Thailand at 9th; Malaysia at 7th; and Singapore at 5th.

The United States topped the survey with South Korea coming in at second, Japan at third, and Australia at fourth.

“The survey itself does not mean anything, except that it points to some gaps in certain categories that we know there is a role for governments to play,” Struthers pointed out.

He said the ASPI study showed the need to hold more dialogues between business and government to forge private-public partnerships.

Struthers described the NCSP 2022 as “a very bold program that contains all the elements of what a government needs to put into their cybersecurity program.” Among them, he said, are improved governance, an emergency response initiative, social practice, among others.

Meanwhile, he said there is a need for more collaboration between the cybersecurity industry, governments and corporate organizations, at the same time emphasizing its importance.

“We learn a lot in collaboration, sharing of information, sharing of knowledge is very important in raising awareness. But I think the number one problem that you have to work on collectively, which is an industry problem as much as a government problem, is raising skills,” Struthers said.

Struthers said the WannaCry cyber attacks provided three lessons: the need for vigilance, and not be complacent; approach to security from five years ago needs to change; and recognize the things that have to be replaced to better secure organizations and governments.

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