Microsoft to help Thai banks with cyber security

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Microsoft, America’s leading software company, will lend the Thai financial sector a helping hand on cyber security as part of a new Thai Bank Computer Emergency Response Team, executives with the Thai Bankers’ Association and Microsoft said last week.

The announcement came just days after Richard Clarke, a former advisor to several United States presidents, urged Thailand to strengthen digital defenses to protect its digital economy, during an international symposium on cyber security in Bangkok. Thailand’s digital economy is growing rapidly, with e-commerce forecast go expand by 20 percent this year, according to Thailand’s Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA).

A report released by the Bank of Thailand at the end of 2016 said that Thailand had 15 million internet bank accounts worth $72 million, and 20 million mobile banking accounts worth $17.5 billion. The ETDA valued the e-commerce market in Thailand at $66 billion in 2014 and projected it would exceed $78 billion in 2016.

The Thai Bank Computer Emergency Response Team(CERT) will be established before the end of this year and will receive security alerts and organize responses to help members cope with attacks and intrusions, said Kobsak Duangdee, secretary general of the Thai Bankers’ Association (TBA).

The 14 banks that are members of the TBA will share the costs and infrastructure of the CERT in order for it to be as efficient as possible. The CERT will also provide training on cyber security skills for bank employees.

Thai banks are preparing to implement e-KYC (electronic Know Your Customer) technologies to verify customers and authorize their transactions, Kobsak said.“In our view, e-KYC is crucial for Thailand to move into the digital economy era,” he said.

Dhanawat Suthumpun, managing director of Microsoft (Thailand), said that one of the ways the company would assist the CERT would be by offering the services of its Digital Crime Unit. The company already works with the Electronic Transactions Development Agency to share and update information on the latest cyber-security threats.

“Blockchain is another technology that will strengthen cyber security,” Dhanawat said.

The State Railway of Thailand and Thailand Post announced last week that they will be adopting blockchain technology and the internet of things to improve their logistics and services.

The State Railway of Thailand said it would invest over $30 million over the next three years to upgrade its information technology systems.