According to AAG IT, in 2021, ransomware attacks targeted 79% of Malaysian organisations, and these attacks led to the encryption of data in 64% of cases. Additionally, cybercriminals have been increasingly focusing their efforts on internet users in Malaysia.
Also in 2021, more than 20,000 cybercrimes were reported, resulting in financial losses of RM560 million for the victims. Between 2017 and 2021, the cumulative financial impact of cybercrime in Malaysia reached an estimated RM2.23 billion.
Furthermore, from January to July 2022, there were 11,367 reported cases of cybercrime, indicating a 61% increase in the crime rate compared to the period from 2016 to 2022.
Criminologist Datuk Dr P. Sundramoorthy recommends that the government initiate the process of amending current laws to enhance their effectiveness against cybercrime by starting with an increase in penalties for these offences.
Sundramoorthy emphasises that despite the non-violent nature of cybercrimes, it is imperative to raise the penalties due to the widespread occurrence of such cases, according to a news report by The Star.
He underscores the substantial financial losses incurred and the suffering caused to victims by scammers.
In light of this, Sundramoorthy advocates for the mandatory imposition of incarceration, even for first-time offenders, and stressed the necessity of imposing severe sentences on cybercriminals.
Sundramoorthy, affiliated with the Centre for Policy Research at Universiti Sains Malaysia, asserts that the government should also mandate financial institutions and e-commerce platforms to establish specialised units dedicated to identifying potential scamming activities related to their operations.
By implementing these specialised units, companies can effectively thwart cybercriminals from their own end, Sundramoorthy asserts.
Concerning scams associated with cryptocurrency, Sundramoorthy suggests granting Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) the authority to freeze funds used in such fraudulent activities.
BNM, in collaboration with Payments Network Malaysia Sdn Bhd (PayNet) and the financial industry, is working on the development of the National Fraud Portal.
This portal is expected to be operational by the middle of the next year. The primary goal of the portal is to automate and enhance the ability to track fund movements and identify money mules involved in financial scams.
This initiative aims to increase the likelihood of tracing and freezing the stolen funds, ultimately protecting victims from losses.