Shifting businesses and enterprises into an intelligent and connected virtual space is no longer an option but a necessity to survive, primarily due to the added pressure brought about by the pandemic, a study in the Asia-Pacific region by Deloitte said.
Stephan Neumeier, online security company Kaspersky’s managing director for the Asia Pacific, said: “The Asia Pacific’s level of digitisation was still in its early stages until the pandemic forced everyone to reconsider their operational practices. Contrary to popular belief that Industry 4.0 is a high-level topic confined to board rooms, this revolution has the consumer at its core.
“This, alongside breakthroughs like big data, internet of things and 5G, are here to create a customised future.”
Customised future, or products and services made based on a customer’s preference, is a trend introduced by the mobile ultra-broadband of 4G, which brought to human’s fingertips the power to call a cab when they needed one, to stream songs or contents they wanted and more.
With more advanced technologies, a majority of consumers (83 per cent) value personalised experience and are willing to give their data to make it possible. In fact, consumers are unknowingly giving more data than they have bargained for.
While all this is proof of the power of technology when harnessed correctly, the flexible and highly-connected manufacturing process also opens a wider attack surface for cybercriminals.
The latest report from Kaspersky for industrial automation systems said Asia and Africa were the least secure globally during the first six months of 2020.
Asian regions occupied four out of the top five positions in the regional rankings based on the percentage of Industrial Control Systems (ICS) computers which were almost infected.
Southeast Asia topped followed by Africa and Central, East and South Asia.
In ransomware too, Asia regions led by noticeable margins, with over half the countries in the top 15 being in APAC.
“It is not surprising that ICS computers in the Asia Pacific were exposed to the highest number of cyber threats as the region is well on its way to building a customer-centric future,” Neumeier said.
“Smart systems and automated productions require in-depth, intelligent defences to foil malicious disruptions, with possible aftermaths that can cross from the virtual to the physical realm.
“To avoid grave circumstances, a secure-by-design approach is necessary. Cyber immunity against attacks should be ingrained at the very fabric of the present and future industrial systems.”
An example of a secure and beneficial application of Industry 4.0 was done by Kaspersky and Siemens for Singapore Aquaculture Technologies’ first smart floating fish farm. A first in Singapore and expected to produce 350 tonnes of fish annually, the S$4 million (US$2.97 million) aquaculture facility is set to cater to the needs of Singaporeans for quality fish while also addressing the challenges posed by climate change that have resulted in declining fish populations.
Raimund Klein, Siemens Digital Industries’ executive vice president for Southeast Asia, said “Consumers now are concerned about the origin of their food, the type of environment it is from, and the harvesting processes done before it arrived at their dinner table. With climate change and environmental challenges, food production should now be both ethical and sustainable. This is possible when we use available technologies right.”