Thai military stresses need for cyber vigilance

Thai military stresses need for cyber vigilance
PHOTO: The Nation/ANN

THE military yesterday stressed the need for cybersecurity readiness at the national level, as the country still only maintains preparedness at the military and ministry level.

General Bunjerd Tientongdee, special adviser to the permanent secretary for the Defence Ministry, was referring to the Information and Communications Technology Ministry.

He issued the warning during a session on "Thailand Under Cyber Attack: Military preventive measures and incident response" at the Cyber Defence Initiative Conference held at Bitec.

There should be a national cyber-security warning centre similar to the National Disaster Warning Centre, National Security Council and National Intelligence Agency, he said.

Bunjerd, who is an information technology security expert at the Defence Technology Institute, also called on the public to trust the Armed Forces for cyberwarfare plans.

"No one designs an army to fight the people.

"The cyberwarfare division is the country's response to protect it from threats of cyberwars.

"Please be confident in the Armed Forces. Today, high-level commanders in all branches have talked about cybersecurity, which indicates the military's readiness," he said.

Lt-General Suttisak Slakcom, adviser to the Defence Ministry, said Thailand lacks the infrastructure to manage cyber threats. There was no national cyber command.

A national cybersecurity committee had been established by the Yingluck Shinawatra administration, but it expired following her departure. A national cybersecurity committee needs to be set up by law, he said.

Group Captain Amorn Chomchoey, deputy chief of the Air Forces' Cyber Warfare Division, said the country needs to have a "one-stop service" to take care of national cybersecurity. It is lacking of this kind of agency at the national level to alert and inform the public, solve problems and deal with cybersecurity issues.

Watch for cyber threats

There is a "government monitoring service" operated and run by ThaiCERT with sensors on the 40 computer systems of government agencies to watch for cyber threats and to alert agencies under attack.

"To deal with cybersecurity, it needs to get the private sector to participate, especially the Internet service providers," he said.

Maj-General Rittee Intravudh, director of the Army's Military Technology Centre Signal Department, said that to deal with cyberwarfare, cybersecurity readiness is not only needed in the government, but also in the private sector and among the people.

The important thing is to have collaboration.

However, Colonel Chartchai Chaigasam, director of the Armed Forces' Cyber Warfare Division, said the division was set up under a Defence Council resolution in May 2013 and has been operating since October last year.

In the Thai Armed Forces, there are five fighting domains - ground, air, sea, space and cyberspace. More than 100 countries also have a cyber-warfare division in their army.

The two priorities of the Cyber Warfare Division are planning to protect the Army's network and attacking or accessing the enemy.

This division's mission is to protect the country from wars. It will operate under the law and on request from the government.

The three strategies for dealing with cyberwarfare are protection, detection and response.

The four actors are an organisation or agency focusing on cyberspace, law makers and enforcers, the private sector, and a defence unit acting on request by the government and under the law.

As his responsibility is preparation for Cobra Gold 2016, it will be the first ever war games with a cyber slant. Six of the seven countries have readiness to do military exercises for cyber-warfare.

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