Myanmar’s First ever National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

07 October 2019

The first-ever Myanmar Cyber Security Month (MCM) with the campaign theme #Cyber Ready Myanmar was launched on 4th October 2019 at SeedSpace in Yangon. The launching ceremony was organized by Information Technology and Cyber Security Department of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Myanmar Computer Federation, Myanmar Information Security Association and the US ICT Council for Myanmar.

Myanmar citizens are spending an increasing amount of time online, which makes them more vulnerable to cyber threats. We need to be proactive and teach people how to identify these threats to be safe online. The detail for today event will be answered by Mrs. Max Shu Teasdale, who is the Executive Director of US ICT Council for Myanmar, "So, this is the first ever Myanmar Cyber Security Month, it is the month that celebrated in different countries around the world, some countries have a week, some countries have a month. So, we and our partners choose to celebrate the whole month regarding the Cyber Security to build awareness around the citizens as well as organizations in Myanmar. The statistics is that over 80% of Myanmar citizens have mobile phones and so majority of people in Myanmar are online, so I think it is very important to educate people who are online to be safe and how to be a good digital citizen."

The goals of MCM include: Creating a culture of cyber security awareness among Myanmar citizens; Educating the public about how to be safe online and how to protect their data and devices; and Providing toolkits and guidelines to organizations, such as government entities, businesses, and NGOs, to enable them to secure their data, networks and systems and to educate their employees, "So, the first step, we have several different things. One is that how to protect your mobile device. Because everybody in Myanmar has a mobile, usually a smart phone, that’s one of the priorities for us to teach the citizens for how to protect themselves on their phone when they are getting on Facebook and other social media channels", said Mrs. Max Shu Teasdale.

In which level we are in for this cyber security sector in estimation and as a person who is also working this part, I have also interviewed for her perspective regarding it, "I would say even in the United stated, people are not thinking about cyber security, you might hear all the tips and the things that you should do, but you don't necessarily implement, so that it’s a common problem with everybody, which is a human in nature in which you know that it is dangerous but you just may not be paying attention, So I wouldn't say that Myanmar is lacking behind or the opposite, because it shares the common problems with other countries as well.", Mrs. Max Shu Teasdale added.

Regarding the businesses and SMEs, what may be the current circumstances of the cyber security and Digital Transformation. For this U Thaung Tin, who is the vice president of UMFCCI, will be answered in the interview.

“If we say business whether a small one or big one, most of the people think that small businesses do not need any of the computers, digital or online media. Because the business is small and if we go that way, it will cost a lot. So many of them try to use the traditional way. Big businesses can afford the costs and have many staffs hence they used to transform into digital or information technology. But I actually think SMEs should use information technology as IT develops so fast nowadays. Myanmar was left behind back in the early days, but now we pursue through social media by using smart phones directly. As other countries go through step by step but we jump forward. People recognize that small businesses can be known easily and immediately by advertising on social media like Facebook.”

Is cybersecurity becoming a sole purpose for the business to have difficulties in transforming into Digital transformation? We will be discussing about this question in the interview.

"What I see at the present is both big and small business are transforming to online platform. Again, mobile banking and mobile money came to appear and apparently, we can make not only the task, but also the payment and withdrawal with digital process, there can be misuses and cheating by using this platform concerning with financial matters, so this become the main problem. This result in the business making people worried using online. It happens not only in our country also around the world. The ASEAN also urge the SMEs to digital transformation but what we need to consider is about cyber security which became a serious matter", U Thaung Tin added.

Dave