Towards a Resilient Cyberspace in Southeast Asia

The Institute’s latest paper seeks to better understand how to foster a resilient cyberspace across the SEA-6 region.

Southeast Asia is one of the fastest growing regional economies in the world. Catalysed by the pandemic, the region’s digital economy is currently serving an estimated 440 million people online. By 2030, Southeast Asia’s internet economy is projected to grow to US$1 trillion.

However, the gains in the digital economy has seen corresponding growth in risks and challenges posed by cybercriminals. In particular, perpetrators are taking advantage of how digital adoption has outpaced digital literacy and cyber-awareness amongst users. Post-pandemic, Southeast Asia will continue to be a target for cyber-attacks, as the region seeks economic cooperation through digital trade and connectivity.

To address this concern, building cyber resilience in Southeast Asia is key to maximising the benefits of digitalisation.


Key Insights

The Cyber Resilience Framework is a reconceptualisation of existing cyber governance frameworks, with the aim of highlighting the adaptability component.

The framework provides a nuanced approach in understanding cyber capabilities focusing on two key pillars: the capability to lower the likelihood of an attack, and the capability to reduce the impact of an attack. The framework is composed of 4 key domains: 1) protect, 2) identify and detect, 3) respond and recover, and 4) adapt.

Within this Framework, we find that countries in Southeast Asia are at varying stages of cyber resiliency. Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines have instituted policies that protect their governments, citizens, and businesses from the constantly evolving cyberthreats. Vietnam and Indonesia, are starting to implement policies to improve protection of their digital economy, although there are still areas for improvement.

This is in line with the value of resilience in general, in which continual development in people, process and technology increases capacity to cope with uncertainty. Amidst the growing and evolving cyber threats, economies need to invest in cyber resiliency in a holistic manner, so as to sustainably protect digital networks.

  • Increasing regional cooperation amongst agencies responsible for national data protection;
  • Facilitating coordination within and beyond national borders of computer security incident response teams;
  • Nurturing cybersecurity expertise; and
  • Building a culture of cyber resilience across the whole of society, through awareness and competency development from the very young to elderly.

The publication of this paper is an invitation to a conversation. We hope that this paper will be used as a starting point to shape important discussions on how the region can formulate actionable policies and move towards making Southeast Asia’s digital economy safe, secure and resilient.

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Dr Ming Tan

Founding Executive Director

Dr Ming Tan is founding Executive Director for the Tech for Good Institute. She is concurrently a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Governance and Sustainability at the National University of Singapore. Her research interests lie at the intersection of technology, business and society, including sustainability and innovation.


Ming was previously Managing Director of IPOS International, part of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore, which supports Singapore’s future growth as a global innovation hub for intellectual property creation, commercialisation and management.


Prior to joining the public sector, she was Head of Stewardship of the COMO Group, a Singaporean portfolio of lifestyle companies operating in 14 countries worldwide. Her portfolio covered sustainability, brand and data privacy. She was concurrently the founding Executive Director of COMO Foundation, the private philanthropy of the owner of the COMO Group.


As a company director, she lends brand and strategic guidance to SuperNature Pte Ltd, COMO Hotels and Resorts (Asia) Pte Ltd, COMO Club Pte Ltd, and Mogems Pte Ltd. In the not-for-profit space, Ming is an Advisor to Singapore Totalisator Board and serves on the boards of Esplanade–Theatres on the Bay, Singapore’s national performing arts centre, St. Joseph’s Institution International and COMO Foundation.


As part of her commitment to holistic education and the arts, she also sits on the Advisory Panel of the Centre for the Arts of the National University of Singapore.


Ming was educated in Singapore, the United States, and England. She obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University and her doctorate from Oxford.