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Singapore enters into seventh bilateral agreement on cybersecurity cooperation

Image copyright: Federal Foreign Office of Germany (Source: CSA Facebook page)

On July 6, Singapore and Germany signed a Joint Declaration on strengthening cybersecurity cooperation. The Declaration was signed by Mr David Koh, Chief Executive, Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), and Dr. Thomas Fitschen, Director of International Cyber Policy, German Federal Foreign Office (FFO).  

The agreement covers cybersecurity cooperation in key areas including regular information exchanges, joint training and research; and sharing of best practices to promote innovation in cybersecurity. Both parties also commited to promote voluntary norms of responsible state behaviour in cyberspace.

Mr Koh said, “The inking of this Declaration paves the way for mutual assistance and information sharing which will strengthen the cybersecurity landscape of both countries. We are also excited to be working together to promote voluntary norms of responsible state behaviour to support the security and stability of cyberspace.”  

‘Strengthening international partnerships’ is one of the key pillars of Singapore’s latest Cybersecurity Strategy, launched in October last year, recognising that cyber threats do not respect sovereign boundaries and attacks on one country can have serious spillover effects on others in today’s interconnected world.  

CSA, which was established in April 2015 to provide dedicated and centralised oversight of national cybersecurity functions, had previously signed six bilateral Memorandums of Understanding or MOUs (in chronological sequence):

France (May 2015): CSA signed a MOU with its French Counterpart, Agence Nationale de la Sécurité des Systèmes d’Information to strengthen national cybersecurity capabilities through more regular bilateral exchanges, sharing of best practices and efforts to develop cyber security expertise.

United Kingdom (July 2015): A MOU was signed between CSA and the Cyber Security Cooperation with the Cabinet Office of the United Kingdom. The agreement covers cooperation in four key areas, including cyber security incident response and cyber security talent development. There will also be joint cyber research and development collaboration between the UK and Singapore, with funding being doubled over three years, from S$2.5million to S$5.1 million.

India (November 2015): CSA signed a MOU with the Department of Electronics and Information Technology of India for an initial period of 2 years to establish formal cooperation in cyber security between the Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team (SingCERT) and the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In). The MOU focused on five key areas of cooperation. They are (i) the establishment of a formal framework for professional dialogue; (ii) CERT-CERT related cooperation for operational readiness and response; (iii) collaboration on cyber security technology and research related to smart technologies; (iv) exchange of best practices; and (v) professional exchanges of human resource development.

The Netherlands (July 2016): CSA and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) of The Netherlands signed a MOU, committing both parties to regular bilateral exchanges, sharing of cyber security best practices and strategies aimed at protecting critical information infrastructures as well as access to training and workshops.

United States (July 2016): The MOU was signed by Mr. Koh, and Suzanne Spaulding, Under Secretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It will last for an initial period of 5 years. The agreement covers cooperation through regular CERT-CERT information exchanges and sharing of best practices, coordination in cyber incident response and sharing of best practices on Critical Information Infrastructure protection, cybersecurity trends and practices. The parties also committed to conducting joint cybersecurity exercises and collaborate on regional cyber capacity building and cybersecurity awareness building activities.

Australia (June 2017): The MOU was signed by Mr. Koh, and Dr. Tobias Feakin, Ambassador for Cyber Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The initial MOU will last for two years. It covers cybersecurity cooperation in key areas similar to the other MOUs, such as sharing of information and best practices, cybersecurity training, joint cybersecurity exercises with a focus on the protection of Critical Information Infrastructure and a commitment to promote voluntary norms of responsible state behaviour in cyberspace. As a first step, the two countries will organise an ASEAN cyber-risk reduction workshop at the end of 2017.  

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