Singapore's cyber defence firepower gets $130m boost

Singapore's cyber defence firepower gets $130m boost
(From left) Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong - the deputy chairman and chairman of the Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council, respectively - and Professor Low Teck Seng, chief executive officer of the National Research Foundation, at Friday's press conference.

Singapore on Friday unveiled a $130 million plan to enhance the nation's cybersecurity firepower in the face of a rising tide of global cyberattacks.

The funds, to be spent over five years, will support research efforts to make computer networks and other information technology systems more secure, reliable and resilient.

These efforts will also boost the pool of qualified personnel able to combat increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks.

The move was spurred by increasing cyberattacks which could threaten government agencies and critical services such as banks and utility firms.

Bolstering cybersecurity research was a major recommendation made on Friday by the high- level Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council chaired by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Other key areas are a programme to attract expatriate senior scientists to return to Singapore, and developing innovation clusters around technologies such as 3-D printing and diagnostics.

Speaking at a press conference to announce the research areas, Mr Lee said: "If we can develop ideas and solutions which reduce cyber risks, I think that can save us a lot of trouble.

"All you need is one bad cyberattack averted and you pay back all the research you put in there. I think nobody can say that our system is safe and that there is no need to secure it, or that nobody can break it. All over the world, these are matters that are taken very seriously."

The cybersecurity programme will be jointly funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF), the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Home Affairs and the National Security Coordinating Secretariat.

The NRF will be inviting applications from local and international communities for research grants in seven areas.

They include cyberforensic techniques, combating insider threats, identifying the source of attacks, and making computer hardware, software and electronics more reliable and resilient.

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