Azmi & Associates: Ransomware – The Malaysian Legal Perspective

The emergence of technology with borderless access discovers a new spectrum of world to mankind – the virtual world. Thanks to technology, our daily activities and businesses are facilitated, simplified and accelerated. However, with the advancement of technology, dangers and threats through the virtual world are more imminent. As technology evolves and the medium revolves, various new cyber-related criminal offences emerge. With a single click, one could be a victim of cyber-criminal offences without knowing any information about the offender.

Ransomware attack is one of the biggest threats against preservation of information assets or systems. Ransomware can be described as a kind of malware that prevents users from accessing their computing device resources and/or personal data using various methods. The data on the victim’s computing device becomes unusable until the device owner pays ransom to remove the restriction[1] and regain access to the hijacked system. In 2018, CyberSecurity Malaysia through Malaysia Computer Emergency Response Team (“MyCert”) has reported 62 ransomware incidents involving different kinds of variants from Malaysian and non-Malaysian parties[2]. According to Sophos’ global survey made on several Malaysian bodies and institutions, “The State of Ransomware 2021”, 58% of the respondents stated that ransomware is already so prevalent that it is inevitable they will get hit and 41% of the respondents stated that they are already experiencing an increase in attempted ransomware attacks.

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