South Korea’s SK Telecom to Help Myanmar Boost Cybersecurity

By Nan Lwin 2 June 2020

YANGON—South Korea’s largest telecom company, SK Telecom, has signed an agreement with Myanmar’s National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) to help improve the country’s defenses against cybersecurity threats.

A government agency under the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the NCSC is responsible for safeguarding national intelligence against cyber threats, including hacking and distributed denial-of service (DDos) attacks, and protecting the nation’s information and communications networks.

The NCSC said the move aims to protect Myanmar’s national intelligence and intelligence resources from cybersecurity threats.

While Myanmar has recently made progress on digitalization, jumping to No. 157 on the e-government index in 2018 from 169 in 2016 (out of 193 countries worldwide), it still has a long way to go. Moreover, the implementation of an e-government program has opened the door to a new threat—cybercrime.

“SK Telecom will work closely with the NCSC to build a sophisticated security operation system in Myanmar to strengthen protections against the ever-increasing cyber threats,” said Shim Sang-soo, vice president and head of the Infra Business Group of SK Telecom.

SK Telecom said that under the contract signed on Tuesday, the company will dispatch a team of cybersecurity experts to Myanmar to provide consulting services for the design and establishment of a Security Operation Center (SOC) for the NCSC through the end of July.

According to the contract, the expert team will use SK Telecom’s “Smart Guard” solution to diagnose security vulnerabilities within the NCSC’s existing cybersecurity infrastructure.

The company said it will share SK Telecom’s expertise and know-how in ICT infrastructure security management to ensure a rapid and efficient response to cyber threats.

In a press release, SK Telecom said it will also provide Security Information & Event Management (SIEM), a security solution developed by Korean company Igloo Security, after optimizing the solution for the NCSC’s environment.

SIEM collects and analyzes information—including logs, errors, hacking activity and others—generated by diverse systems including servers, network equipment and applications, and immediately notifies the security administrators.

At the Fourth e-Government Conference in February, Myanmar State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi pushed for the speeding up of the country’s e-governance plan to drive economic development.

The State Counselor said the necessary infrastructures have been set up and a network has been established to link ministries. Plans are underway to build a national data center to safely store information for these ministries and provide efficient services. A number of laws concerned with e-government have been enacted, and more laws on cybercrime and data security are on the way.

Rules and regulations are also being developed to target those who commit acts of sabotage and cybercrime, she said.

Preparations to issue Certification Authority are underway, providing a digital signature with which online users can identify themselves, according to the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

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