Sibernita: A Call for Awareness among Women on Cybercrimes

By Murniati Abu Karim
Photo Shahiddan Saidi

BANGI, July 8 2021Cybercrimes against working women, retirees and housewives have shown a worrying rise in Malaysia, said the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun.

Speaking at the officiating ceremony of Sibernita – a seminar for women on cybersecurity, Datuk Seri Rina expressed concerns over the safety of women in the cyber space as they are exposed to serious threats such as online scams, phishing and espionage as well as data breaches.

There are also cases where women being tricked into having an online romance that end up with victims losing their money, she added.

“On top of that, women suffer from public humiliation over leaked private photos, blackmails and insults by unknown individuals on social media.

“The wide reach of the internet and rapid spread of information could put women at risk hence, it is important for them to be fully aware of the cybercriminals’ modus operandi,” she continued.

Themed ‘Aware, Avoid, Act’, the two-day seminar is a joint effort between Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (KPWKM) and International Muslim Women’s Union (IMWU).

The event was held from 7th to 8th July 2021 in a fully virtual format.

During the seminar, more than 200 participants were exposed to the cybersecurity skillsets which is essential to suppress the cybercrime rate in the country.

Also present at the closing ceremony was UKM Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic and International) Prof. Dr. Mohammad Kassim.

He said: “The emergence of the Internet as the latest communication tool provides a platform for the dissemination of information that strengthens knowledge and information. However, there is no limitation on what kind of information goes online and that includes false news, propagandas and ideologies.

“I hope this seminar can provide exposure and awareness of cyber safety, especially to the general public, and in turn can combat the escalating numbers of cybercrimes.”

The training modules which has been recognized as professional courses were developed by UKM experts in the area of Cyber ​​Security, Law, Linguistics and Islamic Studies.

Towards the new narrative by UKM – ‘Universiti Watan Kita’, this seminar complements the university’s initiatives and the strategies in the Malaysian Digital Economy Blueprint (2021-2030) which prioritizes the safety of the people by building a trusted, secure and ethical digital environment.

The forum sessions feature notable speakers from IMWU, Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), Cyber Security Academia Malaysia (CSAM) and Universiti Malaya – all are co-organizers of Sibernita alongside IEEE Women in Engineering.

Participants who wish to delve deeper into the topic of cyber safety can look forward to obtaining a Cyber ​​Protection Professional Certificate in the second series of the seminar in August. The modules will include in-depth understanding on the risks, responsibilities, best practices, prevention methods as well as guidance and victim support.