The Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Institute (ASTRI) plays an instrumental role in cybersecurity development in the city. Together with the Hong Kong Police Force the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), ASTRI has created a few state-of-the-art facilities to groom and train cybersecurity professionals. One of these, the Cyber Range, is the very first of its kind in Hong Kong. It trains local cybersecurity professionals and practitioners including police officers dedicated to fight cyber-crimes. The facility uses an ‘attack and defence’ simulation model to equip its trainees with adequate skills. Oriental Daily spoke to Dr Frank Tong, CEO of ASTRI and Dr Duncan Wong, Vice President (Financial Technologies), in a series of interviews, talking about latest developments in the field of cybersecurity.
The first interview (available in Chinese only) describes how the Cyber Range imparts training to deter and defend hacker attacks. The Range can simulate tens of thousands of cyber-attacks and evolve them into more than three thousand attacks, from large-scale attacks such as attacking power plants, to small-scale home computer intrusions. In order to maintain the confidentiality of the Range, its operations are run within a closed network. ASTRI’s experts regularly feed in new attack data into the system. Dr Tong recalled “there was a malware called Mirai last year that attacked systems through botnets – US networks were attacked in this method. Our Cyber Range could simulate new attacks like that to keep up-to-date with latest developments.”
Referring to the highly confidential nature of the Cyber Range’s training content, the second interview (available in Chinese only) talked about its data collection and notification systems. Dr Tong pointed out that cyber-intelligence involves a lot of complex information. The system automatically analyses and checks the credibility of available intelligence on a daily basis, and then the intelligence team conducts further research, investigation and reporting with the analysis. The system records all kinds of network attacks for intelligence analysis, so that Hong Kong Police Force and the financial industry can learn about the latest attacks and solutions from around the world.
With regards to the grooming cybersecurity talents, in the third interview (available in Chinese only), Dr Tong suggested that “although Hong Kong is an international financial metropolis, it still needs a higher number of technology talents.” Therefore, ASTRI strives to nurture the young technology talents in Hong Kong. For instance, the first-ever Inter-Tertiary-Institute ‘Capture the Flag Contest’ in Hong Kong/Macau recently received a huge response from the students’ community. In addition, ASTRI organises professional training courses with HKMA and the Hong Kong Institute of Banks. The accredited Professional Development Programme (PDP) nurtures cybersecurity practitioners – enhancing their cybersecurity awareness and risk assessment capabilities.