KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 15 — Malaysia’s altered stance to China and its Belt and Road Initiative post-general election will expose more local firms to virtual attacks, said cyber security firm FireEye.
It noted that the new Malaysian government has stated its intention to terminate or at least postpone several local infrastructure projects previously awarded to Chinese firms.
FireEye said its analysts have observed a pattern of China-based groups and others targeting organisations with links to the Belt & Road initiative.
It also suspects China-based groups of engaging in systematic cyber espionage operations against close allies in South-east Asia.
“Malaysia’s new government has called for renegotiation of the terms of some Belt & Road projects, which is likely to generate some uncertainty in parties interested in the outcome of these projects and other regional developments.
“We expect espionage activity against Malaysian organisations will increase in an attempt to gain insight into current events,” said Sandra Joyce, vice president and head of global intelligence operations at FireEye.
The Belt and Road Initiative is an ambitious, multi-year project across Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa to develop a land and maritime trade network that will project China’s influence across the greater region.
Based on historical activity, it said those that may be targeted include regional governments, academia, think tanks and those involved in the transportation, construction, manufacturing, energy, mining, and finance sectors.