News @ AsiaOne

Changes to keep cyber attacks at bay

The legislation will also be renamed the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act. -My Paper
Gwendolyn Ng

Tue, Jan 15, 2013
My Paper

Above photo is Mr S. Iswaran, Second Minister for Home Affairs.

More powers will be given to a minister to prevent, detect and counter cyber attacks on key infrastructure that could bring Singapore to a complete standstill.

This is through changes to the Computer Misuse Act that were passed in Parliament yesterday.

The legislation will also be renamed the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act.

Mr S. Iswaran, Second Minister for Home Affairs, said the changes were necessary, as Singapore's "increasing dependence on cyber space has brought about new risks and vulnerabilities".

He added that being a highly inter-connected nation means Singapore is open to cyber threats.

For instance, in the lead-up to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation 2009 meetings held here, there were at least seven waves of malicious e-mail attacks that targeted members of the Apec Organising Committee and Apec delegates.

"Cyber attacks...can disrupt daily lives and threaten our nation's security, economy, public health and safety," he said.

The amendments will help strengthen the cyber security of critical information infrastructure, which are prime targets of cyber attacks, he said.

Such infrastructure refer to the systems needed for the delivery of essential services to the public in various key sectors.

Such key sectors include energy, water, finance and banking, government, health care, infocomm, security and emergency services, and transportation. 

One change passed gives the Home Affairs Minister power to direct a person or an entity to take measures to prevent, detect or counter a threat to national security, essential services, defence or foreign relations of the country.

For instance, a critical information- infrastructure operator may be required to provide information on computer programs or report cyber-security breaches to the minister.

Those who fail to comply can be fined up to $50,000, jailed for up to 10 years, or both.

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