Forum on Identity Theft in the cyber world

As part of the KL Bar Information Technology Committee’s role, the Forum on Identity Theft in the cyber world was organised. I was appointed as a moderator for this forum and it was attended by around 30 – 40 people ranging from lectures to lawyers.

The three speakers, Deepak Pillai (a leading lawyer), Prof. Abu Bakar Munir (Professor in Law from University of Malaya) and Shamsul Jafni Salleh (former Director of Security, Trust and Governance Department of Malaysian Communication And Multimedia Commission (MCMC)) were very informative and resourceful. The speakers shared their knowledge on identity theft and the ways to prevent it. Particular importance was placed on phishing, a process of fraudulently acquiring sensitive information of a person e.g. bank account number.

This can be done by, for example, sending an email under the pretence of a bank officer to require an account holder to reveal their username and password. The way to avoid this is to simply ignore the email. Banks never send emails to their customers ask them to reveal their information.

Another useful information was shared by Encik Shamsul Jafni Salleh. He said that MCMC acts on complaints made by the public against websites. They can request owners of the website e.g. to shut down such website or even request internet service providers to block such website.

In the end of the presentation, Professor Abu Bakar Munir shared a short clip of a news report about a real life US phisher. The US phisher was a young man who thought his actions will only be punishable with probation. He ended up serving more than 10 years in jail.

Thereafter, the floor was opened to the participants to share their opinion and to ask questions. One of the most interesting facts shared by one of the members is that someone has been charged under the Malaysian Computer Crimes Act 1997 in Ipoh. So far, there is no report in any of the local law reports highlighting such cases. This may be because proceedings under the Malaysian Computer Crimes Act 1997 are tried in lower Courts (local law reports usually do not put up written judgments in the lower courts).

The KL Bar Information Technology Committee will be organising another forum. Watch this space!

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