S'pore to beef up cyber security ecosystem

S'pore to beef up cyber security ecosystem
Participants work on various challenges of the Singapore Cyber Conquest during the Government Software Conference at the Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre on 23 September 2014.

The cyber security ecosystem here, which includes the public and private sectors and education groups, will be strengthened to meet new challenges posed by cyber threats, said Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs Masagos Zulkifli yesterday.

This is part of a coordinated national plan to thwart and nab cyber crooks who try to wreck Singapore's computer networks or critical infrastructure systems, he added, at the launch of the 23rd GovernmentWare conference and exhibition.

"The cyber environment is too vast and complex for a single stakeholder to have complete visibility or oversight," he said, speaking to about 2,000 delegates who are involved in fighting cyber crime and attending the three-day event at Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Cyber security is becoming increasingly important. More people now rely on information technology and Singapore, under its Smart Nation plan, will enable more residents to get access to daily public services and data with greater ease, Mr Masagos noted.

At the national level, cyber threats will be handled by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), he said.

It started operating in April and has absorbed the roles previously played by the Singapore Infocomm Technology Security Authority, an agency set up in 2009 to oversee infocomm technology security in Singapore.

The NCSC will perform round-the-clock operations to detect national cyber threats as swiftly as possible.

When there is a large-scale cyber attack, the centre will coordinate its action plans with cyber security operation centres set up by government departments.

A Ministry of Home Affairs spokesman told The Straits Times that there are at least 10 such centres in the public service, overseeing areas including land transport, health and the maritime sector.

Mr Masagos added that by the end of this year, Singapore will also be home to the Interpol Global Complex for Innovation. It will facilitate greater coordination among law enforcement agencies that look into cyber crime.

These measures will help Singapore better protect itself against cyber attacks.

Last year, Singapore had a high-profile encounter with cyber attackers when the webpages of the Prime Minister's Office and the Istana were defaced.

In the following weeks, the websites of 13 schools were defaced. The Singapore Art Museum also reported that data thieves had stolen records of 4,000 people from its database and published the information on a New Zealand-based server.

Another important partner to fight cyber crime is the private sector, said Mr Masagos.

He said Boeing will launch in Singapore its first Cyber Analytics Centre outside the United States next year.

Mr Ken Lim, assistant vice-president (security) in security company PCS Security, said: "Today's cyber threats are serious and the bad guys are becoming more dangerous. We must work together to handle these threats."


This article was first published on Sep 24, 2014.
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