BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications has revealed that Brunei’s national cyber security agency has been in operation since August 1, although its official website was launched Tuesday. 

Speaking at an event held at DST telco’s headquarters, the MTIC minister said Cyber Security Brunei (CSB) will be responsible for developing policy and frameworks to govern cyber security in the country. 

YB Dato Seri Setia Abdul Mutalib Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Yusof said the agency will operate under the purview of MTIC and will be led by an interim commissioner.

CSB is tasked with overseeing three government cyber security services – Brunei Computer Emergency Response Team, National Digital Forensic Laboratory, and Cyber Watch Centre.

“The formation of CSB is timely as one of the key strategic enablers in our digital transformation journey towards making Brunei Darussalam a ‘Smart Nation’,” YB Dato Abd Mutalib said.

“Now that we have CSB as our forefront agency for a safer and secure cyberspace, I hope that it will encourage more agencies, organisations and users alike to come up with more innovation and participate in digital economy initiatives with more confidence.

“I also hope that it will spur more interest from our youths to venture into careers as cybersecurity experts and professionals, hence making our digital transformation more vibrant and sustainable.”

The plan to establish the national cyber security agency was first revealed in January following the expansion of MTIC’s role to include cyber security, e-government as well as science and technology.

CSB is also involved in drafting Brunei’s new cyber security laws.

‘More digital solutions needed amid global pandemic’

Speaking on the digital impact of COVID-19, the minister said while the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation and connectivity in Brunei, it has also ramped up cyber security threats.

“Cyber security threats and incidents have become more evident with opportunistic and irresponsible actors launching cybersecurity attacks to disrupt critical services and systems.

“Malicious activities such as phishing and scams capitalising on COVID-19 have also increased, feeding on public anxiety and uncertainty of the situation.”

YB Dato Abd Mutalib added that with disruptions to logistics, digital services and platforms to facilitate working from home and online education have become crucial solutions in a world still immobilised by the coronavirus.

Restrictions on physical interaction during the domestic outbreak also drove up demand for fixed broadband services by 32 percent, with bandwidth utilisation increasing by 52 percent up to July of this year.

“With the support of industry players and the private sector, we have seen how our digital agenda has accelerated. This includes the usage of new technologies such as AI and big data for policy consideration and management,” he said.

One of the major digital developments since the start of the pandemic has been the introduction of the BruHealth contact tracing app, which has now been upgraded to allow for telemedicine and access to medical records.

The government has said the app will also employ artificial intelligence to predict infection rates and map Brunei’s medical resource needs in the future.

This article was last updated on October 14, 2020 at 7.20am.