New agency to plug cyber-defence gaps here

New agency to plug cyber-defence gaps here
Course participants at the Cyber Defence Academy.

A high-level central agency will be set up to coordinate public- and private-sector efforts to protect national systems, such as those in the energy and banking sectors, from the increasing threat of cyber attacks.

The Cyber Security Agency (CSA), which operates from April, will be formed under and funded by the Prime Minister's Office. It will bring under one roof the oversight of 10 critical sectors, including power, transport and telecommunications.

From April, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim will also be the minister in charge of cyber security.

To be helmed by David Koh, deputy secretary of technology at the Ministry of Defence (Mindef), the new agency will plug current cyber-defence gaps, such as breaches involving obscure companies that could potentially compromise the security of citizen data, given that computer systems are more connected today. The incoming chief executive of CSA will retain his current position at Mindef.

The new agency will have 60 dedicated technical and policy development staff, with most to be transferred from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA).

For instance, MHA's Singapore Infocomm Technology Security Authority will be subsumed under the new agency. The Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team, a unit of IDA which liaises with cyber-security bodies outside Singapore, will also fall under the new body.

CSA will work with existing security set-ups by IDA - such as the Cyber-Watch Centre and Monitoring and Operations Control Centre (MOCC) - to coordinate incident management at the national level.

The watch centre, set up in 2007 to monitor critical public-sector IT installations, is managed by Singapore-based security-services provider e-Cop. MOCC was set up late last year to monitor telco and government networks round the clock, and coordinate government agencies' responses to cyber attacks.

itham@sph.com.sg


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