by Cristina Lago

Russia to strike a deal with Southeast Asian countries on cybersecurity

Aug 02, 2018
Cybercrime Security

The agreement is set to be published on Saturday as part of the 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministersu2019 Meeting

Update: On Saturday 4 August Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s Foreign Minister, announced that ASEAN countries fell short on the cybersecurity agreement with Russia.

Asked about the proposed agreement as previously announced in a draft communique, Balakrishnan told reporters: “We didn’t get down to settling it.”

Read the full report below.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is expecting to formalise a joint agreement on cybersecurity with Russia in the coming days as part of the 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) taking place in Singapore this week (30 July – 4 August).

The AMM is an annual meeting where foreign ministers from the 10 Asia-Pacific countries discuss, among other issues, ongoing and future cooperation between nations. During the event ASEAN ministers will meet their counterparts from ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners, including the Russian Federation.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet ASEAN officials with a focus on building strategic partnership with the group following the decisions of the 2016 Russia-ASEAN Summit in Sochi.

The draft of a document seen by Reuters discusses formalising an agreement on cybersecurity with the Asia-Pacific organisation. It is expected to be published by the AMM on Saturday (4 August) at the close of meetings underway with other global lawmakers in Singapore.

“We welcome the further strengthening [of] our cooperation in cybersecurity with Russia through the issuance of the statement of ASEAN and Russian foreign ministers on cooperation in the field of cybersecurity,” the draft document said, adding the title would be updated depending on negotiations.

The agreement is a step forward in the fight against cybercrime in the Southeast Asian region. According to the Asia Pacific Risk Centre, hackers are 80% more likely to attack organisations in Asia due to the weakness in regional cybersecurity infrastructures.

Last week Singapore was subject to the largest data breach in its history with 1.5 million affected by an attack which saw SingHealth’s patients personal information, including addresses and  National Registration Identity Card numbers, severely compromised.

“An increasingly important place in the Russia-ASEAN dialogue is given to the development of coordinated measures to ensure the safety of the use of information and communication technologies” said a communique issued by the Information and Press Department on 1 August. “Russian competent agencies are stepping up assistance to the ASEAN law enforcement agencies and special services in the training of personnel, including professional refresher courses.”