Following a cybersecurity attack on Singapore's national healthcare database, experts are now warning other Southeast Asian nations of possible cyber espionage attempts in the future.
Security experts, who believe the attack on Singapore originated from China, say that countries such as Malaysia, whose interests are becoming more intertwined with Beijing, may be forced to repel cyber espionage attempts soon.
"We expect espionage activity against Malaysian organisations will increase in an attempt to gain insight into current events," US cybersecurity company FireEye head of global intelligence operations Sandra Joyce was reported saying in the Nikkei Asian Review today.
In particular, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's efforts to renegotiate the terms of "unfair" development contracts under China's One Belt, One Road initiative have been highlighted.
The Obor initiative, FireEye believes, will be a "driver" of online threats as various stakeholders, such as Chinese hacker groups, attempt to gain "information advantage" and business intelligence on projects and deals.
FireEye's survey on how long governments and companies take to detect they have been hacked also revealed how underprepared countries in the Asia-Pacific region are to deal with such attacks.
According to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute's ranking for Asia-Pacific cyber maturity for 2017, Malaysia ranked seventh, behind countries such as Japan, Singapore and South Korea.