Govt to spend more to beef up cyber security

The Government is taking decisive steps to tackle cyber threats - including almost doubling the proportion of its technology budget dedicated to plugging security gaps in critical infrastructure.

The matter, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday, is one of "national importance", as the country becomes more connected in its mission to become a smart nation.

At the opening of the inaugural Singapore International Cyber Week, he announced a high-level national strategy that also includes strengthening international partnerships.

One key prong will be to direct more funds into arming its defence against attacks.

These have ranged from malware infection to the defacing of government websites.

About 8 per cent of the infocomm technology (ICT) budget will now be set aside for cyber security spending, up from about 5 per cent before.

"Singapore aspires to be a smart nation. But to be one, we must also be a safe nation," PM Lee told more than 3,000 public servants and technology professionals from 30 countries who were attending the 25th GovernmentWare Conference.

The national cyber security strategy is developed by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA).

Central to it is the introduction of a new Cybersecurity Act mid-next year after public consultations, expected to be held after draft legislation is tabled in Parliament next year.

There is currently no over-arching cyber security legislation in Singapore.

The current system of working with various sector regulators is "patchy", said CSA chief executive David Koh, as the requirement to tighten gaps in critical infrastructure have not been worked into licensing conditions in some sectors.

Globally, cyber threats and attacks are becoming more frequent and sophisticated, said PM Lee.

Singapore has not been spared.

"Our government networks are regularly probed and attacked," he noted.

For example, fake websites of the Singapore Police Force, Manpower Ministry, Central Provident Fund Board and the Immigrations and Checkpoints Authority have been set up overseas to phish for personal information or trick people into sending money.

itham@sph.com.sg


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