ASEAN Defense: How Secure is Thailand’s Cyber-Infrastructure?

by Stingray, this blog’s national security journalist

While the rest of the globe, particularly in advance industrealized democracies are fast up-grading their preventive measures against attacks on their digital infrastructure, what about developing countries such as Thailand?

Given, the digital age has not arrived in a country like Thailand in a major way, but should the ground-work for better protection be put in place? For example, Thailand is on the verge of launching the data-heavy capable, 3G mobile phone system.

Consider the following facts:

  • Latest reports say that terrorist are on the verge of having the capability to attack even a well protected cyber infrastructure such as the US and the UK.
  • Latest reports say that terrorist are fast turning to attack vulnerable economic infrastructure because cost/benefit relation favor this type of attack over attacking civilian targets.
  • Latest reports say that terrorist in countries like Thailand are linking-up with international terrorist.
  • Latest reports say that Thai terrorist are fast gainning sophistication-such as incorporating advance triggering device and communications systems.

The question therefore, is all it will take is for terrorist to demonstrate its cyber warfare capabilities-before such know-how gets passed along to their net-work of terrorist globally.

The level of risk in Thailand’s case, poses some challenges globally as well. In the spheer of information flow, knocking the cyber center out in countries such as Thailand or Singapore, may hurt global trade and investments flow. Thailand is one nerve center of communications flow in the ASEAN region. The Thai stock market alone, gets over US$ 200-300 million a day with some US$3 billion total stock holding, in trading interest from investors globally. Yet the Thai stock market, is located in an isolated and low security area. 

Consider the following:

Thailand’s satellite control center, is within Rocket Propelled Granade (RPG) hit distance from a crowded street. That satellite control station, controls several Thai satellites that is servicing data flow across the entire South Asia region.

That type of attack is a crude attack, however, if the Thai satellite control system is knocked out, in a cyber attack, the damage could be equally significant. If the Thai stock market, which is driven by a computer matching super-computer, gets knocked out, the damage could be significant.

Furthermore, in-terms of trade and investments, the globe is very much inter-connected, an attack on Thailand’s cyber infrastructure, could cause significant damage to the reputation of the integrity of other systems in the entire region.

Lastly, while a country such as Thailand is still way behind on its anti-cyber warfare and technology in general, there have been significant advancements in recent years. Thailand now boast data centers, where information from all sort of organization, inside and outside of Thailand, are stored on massive computers.

Yet while security are tight and procautions made, the basic simple fact is that, like the satellite control systems in Thailand, these data centers, are not built for terrorist “crude” attacks, and are not prepared  for sophisticated cyber warfare.

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