Regional Cooperation on Cybersecurity Challenges

An Assessment of ASEAN’s Efforts to Promote Shared Cybersecurity

  • Sisco Kanampumbi Ilunga IDIS
Keywords: ASEAN, cybersecurity, cyberthreats, regional cooperation, critical information infrastructure


The study examines regional cooperation on cybersecurity in the ASEAN region. The study is anchored in neorealist international relations theory, which postulates that the main goal of states within the international system is survival. This quest for survival leads states to compete for power, but it can also result in cooperation between states that aim to counter shared threats. ASEAN cooperation on cybersecurity challenges to critical information infrastructure is one form of cooperation among states in the international system. Specifically, the study assesses ASEAN’s current framework for mitigating cybersecurity threats and identifies its shortcomings in promoting shared cybersecurity. A qualitative descriptive analysis is used to analyze data collected from secondary sources. The secondary data are studied extensively to extract relevant results, which are categorized to achieve the research objectives. The major challenges to cooperation identified by the study are: technological gap among member states, lack of common response strategies, inadequate trust among member states, the dependency of ASEAN’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) on member states to share intelligence, lack of new common cyber norms, and the sophistication of recent cybersecurity challenges. The study recommends that ASEAN should formulate and implement regional cybersecurity norms, establish a cybersecurity taskforce to enforce these norms, and that ASEAN-CERT should regularly train and retrain the CERTs of member states on the best practices in sharing intelligence information.