Monthly Insight

Risk Intelligence Report

DRI Monthly Reports are rigorous research investigations that go beyond reportage and commentary to add permanent value for clients.

Focusing on specific, topical issues and created through innovative methodologies and inputs from globally renowned experts, DRI Monthly Reports cut through noise and ephemera to tell you what you absolutely need to know – today and tomorrow.

Report No. 05 | May-June 2021

Dense Grey Webs Cyber Risks and Trends in the Asia-Pacific

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated global adoption of digital technologies, and the Asia-Pacific is no different. From Singapore and Australia to Japan and South Korea, countries across the Asia-Pacific region have been forced to shift towards working, living, and learning online, with services like video calling, e-healthcare, remote learning, and digital payments witnessing unprecedented levels of investment and adoption. All of this has contributed to an already complex, ever-evolving cyber risk landscape.

This Diplomat Risk Intelligence Monthly Report, based on in-house research and consultations with leading experts, distills the key cyber risks facing the Asia-Pacific. Some of the trends identified in the report are specific products of COVID-19; a rise in phishing attacks against business employees, for example, is driven by the sheer number of employees that began working remotely when the pandemic struck. Many other trends yet, however, were not newly significant creations of the COVID-19 pandemic, but existing undercurrents that were accelerated or molded by the novel coronavirus outbreak. None of these trends will fade into the background when COVID-19 is brought under control.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary
5
Methodological Note
7
Key Cyber Trends and Risks in the Asia-Pacific
8
Mapping the Threat Landscape
14
The Geoeconomics of Cyber Supply Chains
19
Crime, Geopolitics, and Critical Infrastructure Vulnerabilities
23
Challenges and Opportunities from Emerging Tech
27
Authors and Interviewees
30

Authors

Arindrajit Basu

Arindrajit Basu is Research Lead at the Centre for Internet & Society, India, where his research focusses on the geopolitics and constitutionality of emerging technologies. He has also worked in consulting roles with international bodies including the OHCHR and UNIDIR on cyber policy issues. He is a lawyer by training.

Abhijnan Rej

Abhijnan Rej is Director of Research at Diplomat Risk Intelligence. His areas of expertise include Asian geopolitics, India’s defense policy, emerging technologies, and geopolitical risk. Rej also has significant professional experience as a quantitative researcher in academia and the private sector.

Justin Sherman

Justin Sherman is a think tank expert, researcher, and writer focused on the geopolitics, governance, and security of the global internet. He is a fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative, a research fellow at the Tech, Law & Security Program at American University Washington College of Law, and a cyber policy fellow at the Duke Tech Policy Lab. He is a contributor at WIRED Magazine and has written numerous other publications and briefed a range of policymakers on technology risk.

Interviewees

Dr. Hannes Ebert

Cyber-Mediation Team, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Washington, D.C.

Bart Hoogeveen

Head of Cyber Capacity Building, International Cyber Policy Centre, Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Canberra

Jenny Jun

Ph.D. student, Department of Political Science, Columbia University and Nonresident Fellow, Cyber Statecraft Initiative, Atlantic Council

Pukhraj Singh

Former scientist, National Technical Research Organisation, Government of India

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