SecurityBrief Australia logo
Australia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Taking the right cybersecurity precautions in China - Cylance

By Kai Ping Lew
Wed 27 Jun 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Article by Cylance chief security and trust officer Malcolm Harkins

It’s no secret that China has emerged as an economic powerhouse over the past decade, with The Conference Board estimating that the country’s GDP will surpass the US in 2018.

For many Australian businesses, this is an opportunity for growth.

China is already Australia’s largest import and export trading partner, and President Xi Jinping recently implied that it’s unlikely to slow down any time soon.

However, many organisations know very little about doing business in China – or how the country’s political, cultural and cybersecurity landscape can impact their ability to carry out business.

For any business that plans to carry out work in China – whether choosing to base its entire operations in the country or launching a subsidiary – many challenges can be expected.

Knowing China’s technology restrictions

China’s commitment to cyber sovereignty, reinforced by President Xi Jinping in December 2017, poses a particular challenge for foreign companies.

Tough internet censorship and online data regulations have forced global behemoths such as Facebook and Google (currently banned in China) to consider whether it’s worth accepting China’s terms in order to access its 751 million internet users.

A cybersecurity law introduced in June 2017 requires organisations to store sensitive data domestically.

While the Chinese government has hailed this new law as a boost to privacy protection, it has many foreign businesses rattled due to its broad scope and vague definition.

The law is forcing businesses to re-examine the data that flows in and out of China, which can bring about complex challenges such as disaggregation from global data networks in order to remain compliant.

Businesses are also forced to work within the confines of China’s “Great Firewall”, where many popular cloud-based services such as Dropbox and Google Drive are blocked.

Limiting access to these collaborative tools can have major implications on day-to-day operations for businesses that have global offices or that require frequent interaction with foreign counterparts.

This challenge obliges businesses to think about their corporate culture and the needs of their staff in China.

Do you want to ensure your staff have freedom of expression?

Will you allow them unrestricted internet access through your global corporate network?

And if you do that, what are the implications?

There are many complexities involved in how you provide your employees with internet access, and how you go about doing so under China’s laws and expectations.

Many businesses follow strict cybersecurity rules for employees travelling to China; an increasing number enforce the “no corporate laptop” rule where staff are required to take a burner laptop and phone with them to China, so there’s no real data on the devices.

In some contexts, that’s a useful thing to do.

In other contexts, you could argue – depending on the cultural adherence of your employees – you’re really kidding yourself if think that giving an employee a blank laptop would stop them from logging into a system that you don’t want them to.

In situations like that, you might have to think about different control types, such as restricting the geographic IP addresses that are able to access your business’ critical resources.

The unexpected empathy

One of the key perceived dangers of setting up shop in China is the protection of sensitive information and intellectual property theft.

This danger cannot be more exaggerated.

Local Chinese businesses are in fact just as afraid of information and intellectual property theft as we are.

They are hyper-focused on combatting the growing number of local threats, whether it’s insider activity or malicious groups located in different Chinese provinces.

Having operations in China doesn’t necessarily expose you to more risk.

In essence, attackers can get what they want from you wherever you are today.

But what it does mean is that local employees must be trained to maintain top security hygiene and compliance.

Due to the country’s first-to-file system, it is also recommended that businesses entering China consider registering their trademarks as early as possible.

Dealing with risks upfront

Cyber threats are real.

It’s a cop out for businesses to think they cannot mitigate the risks and then speculate about how or why they have been victimised.

The reality is that a number of nation states do not employ very sophisticated security practices.

A recent Europol report into organised internet crime stated that the boundaries between threats from nation states and cybercriminals are blurring – and the attacks were neither sophisticated nor new, but rather were reused, reintroduced technical attacks.

These results reflect back on organisations and the poor job they’re doing to mitigate their risks against an attack.

Businesses need to put better controls in place so they can effectively and efficiently deal with vulnerabilities and threats, and ultimately make it harder for attackers.

It starts with understanding the risk and cybersecurity framework.

How do you identify the risks?

How do you take actions to mitigate these risks?

Are you doing all the preventative work you can upfront, so that you can lower the risk dynamic as much as possible?

And because you can never fully eliminate the risk, you need to step up your ability to detect, respond and recover from security breaches.

The chief security officer can play a role in helping the wider business understand the potential opportunities and offer thoughtful advice to navigate those risks.

The CSO could potentially come up with some scenarios around opportunities and risks in a dynamic fashion – and the business can then revise those risks and opportunities on an annual basis to stay on top of threats.

We don’t have full control of all the variables, but there are many things that we can do within our organisations to manage and mitigate data and security risks.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Organisations exposing highly sensitive protocols to public internet
More than 60% of organisations expose remote control protocol SSH to the public internet, while 36% of organisations expose the insecure FTP protocol.
Story image
High level of Customer Identity & Access Management adoption
The study from Okta revealed that the pandemic has either accelerated or highlighted the need for digital-first strategies.
Story image
Microsoft, NSW partnership to accelerate digital transformation
The renewed partnership is designed to maximise the value of Microsoft solutions to various NSW Government agencies.
Story image
Big business in cryptocurrencies and cybercrime
As of June this year, about a quarter (26%) of Australians considered cryptocurrency as a good investment, and over 36% have at one point considered buying cryptocurrency as an investment.
Story image
Remote Working
Cybersecurity concerns higher than before the pandemic - report
BeyondTrust's new survey shows Australian organisations are more concerned about cyberattacks than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Story image
Privileged Access Management / PAM
The importance of stopping identity sprawl for cybersecurity
The 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) shows that 61% of all breaches involve malicious actors gaining unauthorised, privileged access to data by using a compromised credential. Unfortunately, it is often too late when the misuse of a credential is detected.
Story image
Dark web
Beware the darkverse and its cyber-physical threats
A darkverse of criminality hidden from law enforcement could quickly evolve to fuel a new industry of metaverse-related cybercrime.
Story image
Attacks on gaming companies more than double over past year
The State of the Internet report shows gaming companies and gamer accounts are at risk, following a surge in web application attacks post pandemic.
Story image
Nozomi Networks Labs identifies impacts on 2022 threat landscape
Nozomi Networks’ latest research finds that wiper malware, IoT botnet activity, and the Russia/Ukraine war have had the biggest impact on the threat landscape in 2022 so far.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Dear boardroom, please don’t put digital transformation back in the box
Australian companies are years ahead of where they would have been – a position that the country is poised to take advantage of to do great things. And one that it risks losing.
Story image
Fortinet unveils compact firewall for hyperscale data centres, 5G networks
"Fortinet’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of what is possible in security performance has yielded the most powerful compact firewall yet."
Story image
Cheetah Digital
Privacy, data ethics and the ‘seismic shift’ in consumer trust
Aussie consumers have low levels of trust for advertising, but will pay more to purchase from a trusted brand, a new report from Cheetah Digital reveals.
Story image
Optic Security Group on Australia recruitment drive
Trans-Tasman security integrator looks to meet the twin challenges of high client project demand tight & labour market supply with new opportunities.
Story image
Veeam named Leader in enterprise backup and recovery
"We believe our innovation and ability to execute validates our solid standing as the #1 trusted provider of modern data protection."
Story image
Security gaps in APIs plague organisations - study
Together, the findings highlight that existing solutions and API security tactics focused on shift-left strategies are failing to adequately protect APIs.
Story image
Open source
Flashpoint acquires Echosec Systems, elevates OSINT capabilities
Flashpoint has acquired Echosec Systems, a provider of open-source intelligence and publicly available information.
Story image
SOTI research explores professional's thoughts on digitisation in the healthcare sector
Interconnectivity, automation and data management were the three key trends highlighted in the report as integral parts of successful medical technology implementation.
Story image
Ivanti and SentinelOne partner on patch management solution
Ivanti and SentinelOne will integrate their technologies Ivanti Neurons for Patch Management and SentinelOne's Singularity XDR platform.
Story image
Avast One extends protection with Online Safety Score
Avast One has extended its cross-platform support by adding its Online Safety Score feature to both the Mac and iOS platforms of Avast One.
Story image
Palo Alto Networks responds to rise in threats with MDR service
Unit 42 Managed Detection and Response is a new service that can offer continuous 24/7 threat detection, investigation and response.
Story image
Why security needs to shape your journey to the cloud
It's estimated that 80% of workloads could be in the cloud in the next few years. How can you make all that data secure?
Story image
DCI plans to build new cloud edge data centre in Canberra
DCI is one of the first to commit to the Precinct which has a focus on defence, space, cybersecurity and high-tech manufacturing sectors.
Story image
Web application firewall
Radware recognised in KuppingerCole’s 2022 Leadership Compass report
Radware has been named a Product, Innovation, Market and Overall Leader in the 2022 KuppingerCole Leadership Compass report for Web Application Firewalls.
Story image
Mergers and Acquisitions
Netskope acquires Infiot, delivers integrated SASE platform
Converged SASE platform provides AI-driven zero trust security and simplified, optimised connectivity to any network location or device, including IoT.
Story image
Qualys develops EASM capabilities for Cloud Platform
"Qualys unique approach to EASM is integrating the internal and external asset data from CyberSecurity Attack Management with its VMDR solution into a single view."
Story image
Data Protection
Cloud privacy, data protection more complex than on-prem
In the past 12 months, over a third of Australian businesses (36%) experienced a cloud-based data breach or failed audit. 
Story image
Workplace design a crucial factor for better employee experience - report
The key to a successful workplace could be its design, according to research from Ecosystm and Neat.
Story image
Gartner Magic Quadrant
Gartner positions Commvault as Leader in 2022 Magic Quadrant
Gartner has named Commvault a Leader in its 2022 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup and Recovery Software Solutions report.
Story image
Microsoft unveils two new security products to help reduce attack surfaces
The products are set to give companies deeper insights into threat actor activity and help them successfully navigate the changing threat landscape.
Story image
Claroty launches new cloud-based industrial cybersecurity platform
The company says Claroty xDome is the industry's first solution to deliver the ease and scalability of SaaS without compromising on visibility, protection, and monitoring controls.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Exclusive: NZ-based DEFEND offers global cyber protection
DEFEND supports customers in 66 countries across the globe with a relentless focus on ensuring that every dollar spent on security provides a meaningful return on investment and reduces cyber risk.
Story image
Data Protection
CyberRes partners with Google Cloud in lead up to BigQuery release
CyberRes, a Micro Focus line of business, has announced a partnership with Google Cloud to support the upcoming release of BigQuery remote functions.
Story image
Research shows attacks on the gaming industry are getting worse
Web application attacks in the gaming sector have grown by 167% from Q1 2021 to Q1 2022, according to new research from Akamai.
Story image
Four benefits companies can realise by transitioning to S/4HANA early
Although there is time before organisations are required to transition to a cloud-based solution, such as S/4HANA, it is beneficial to transition now. Waiting too long could complicate the process.
Story image
Data Protection
VMware introduces advanced workload protection for AWS
VMware Carbon Black Workload for AWS delivers comprehensive visibility and security across on-premises and cloud environments for AWS customers.
Story image
Gartner names Rubrik Leader in 2022 Magic Quadrant
Rubrik has been positioned by Gartner as a Leader in the 2022 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup and Recovery Software Solutions.
AWS Marketplace
Learn how security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) enhances your security strategy.
Link image
Story image
AU biometric security company achieves B Corp cert
Australian biometric security firm Daltrey has announced it has become the first cybersecurity vendor in AU to achieve the B Corp certification.
Story image
Why the Metaverse could be the key to enhancing the healthcare sector
The experts at Accenture understand that the programmable world is about building the next version of the physical world in healthcare, understanding complex layers in order to fully utilise technology to its maximum effect.
AWS Marketplace
See how managed security services (MSS) have evolved to Managed Detection and Response (MDR) and Extended Detection and Response (XDR). Learn how these new holistic solutions can simplify security management and improve your threat detection and response.
Link image
Story image
Data Protection
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from SearchInform
Alexey Pinchuk joins us today to discuss the role the company plays in helping organisations manage risk and provide better security outcomes.
Story image
Why enhancing bot protection for web and API endpoints matters
The trouble with bots is that they aren’t all bad. Unfortunately, this can make it challenging to detect malicious bots that find their way into your system and threaten your business.