By JIRAPAN BOONNOON
To protect children from cyber-threats, the government is heading in the direction of developing new tools and infrastructure, including awareness programmes aimed at both parents and children.
March will also see the launch of an online cybersecurity training course for 3,000 children, part of the Electronic Transaction Development Agency’s (ETDA) Internet For Better Life project. The agency will also create best practices and guidelines to address cyber-threats.
Pichet Durongkaveroj, the minister of Digital Economy and Society, said his ministry will work with government agencies such as the Education Ministry to develop tools and a training course related to cybersecurity.
Pichet said he wanted to increase the awareness of parents and children about the dangers of surfing the Internet – including cyberbullying – and how to safely use the technology. The ministry is also studying the international law related to children and human rights before developing new laws as the next step for Thailand.
Surangkana Wayuparb, executive director of ETDA, said the agency two years ago implemented its Internet for Better Life project to create awareness of safety and security issues among both children and senior surfers. She said the agency this year would continue its work to create awareness on accessing the Internet by providing a training course for 3,000 students located in Bangkok, Phuket, Khon Kaen and Chiang Mai provinces. The training course covers four areas of cybersecurity – Internet safety, cyber norms, surfing the Internet with creativity and cyber-immunity.
“ETDA’s view is that children play an important role in shaping the future of our economy,” said Surangkana. “Children also access Internet anytime anywhere. The important issue is how to make the Internet a safe place for children and senior people in order to protect them from abusive and harmful content.”
In 2017, the agency conducted an Internet user behaviour survey, which found that youth under 17 years spend an average of 5.48 hours online daily, and 7.12 hours on the weekend. The top activity online was social media.
There they could encounter any of several online threats, including cyberbullying, deceit, obscenity and child abuse. Reckless online use can also result in other harms such as privacy breaches.
Soranun Jiwasurat, ETDA’s deputy executive-director, said that in the second half of this year, the agency planned to engage with telecom operators to develop a digital content platform and develop best practices and guidelines in order to create and ensure self-regulation over Internet access.
Moreover, ETDA this year will train over 3,000 cybersecurity workforces and will aim to expand the country’s cybersecurity workforce to 12,000 by 2021.
Thailand’s Computer Emergency Response Team (ThaiCERT) has reported that the top three cyber-threats that attracted users are malicious code (43.3 per cent of users), followed by intrusions (17.7 per cent) and intrusion attempts (12.6 per cent).
Last year the country spent US$212 million (Bt6.71 billion) on cybersecurity, a figure expected to grow in 2018 to $243 million, according to Frost & Sullivan, the Internet Data Centre, and Gartner Inc research company. At the current pace, Thailand’s cybersecurity spending is estimated to rise to $23.3 billion over the next 8 years, or 0.35 per cent of GDP.