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MAS seeks to strengthen financial sector cybersecurity through collaboration with FS-ISAC and ABS

Speaking at the Singapore FinTech Festival, Mr. Ravi Menon, Managing Director of MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore), announced several measures for strengthening cyber defence in the financial services sector.

Mr. Menon said, “As we go more digital and online, cyber risks will mount. And if these risks are not managed well, public trust and confidence in technology will suffer. To fully harness the benefits of digital technology, we must build robust cyber defences and have effective remediation plans when things go wrong.”

Launch of the Asia-Pacific Regional Information & Analysis Centre by FS-ISAC in Singapore

FS-ISAC, or the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Centre, is a global intelligence gathering and sharing initiative for the financial sector, with over 7000 members worldwide.

The new centre in Singapore will facilitate the sharing of cyber threat information in a timely manner, and enable a rapid and coordinated response to emerging threats.  

The setting up of the Regional Centre in Singapore demonstrates growing collaboration between the two oganisations to fight cybercrime. The Centre currently supports 49 financial institutions across nine Asia Pacific countries (Australia, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.) 

The Centre provides 24/7 local and global coverage with threat information sharing, actionable intelligence, as well as tools and resources to respond to incidents. Members also benefit from regional meetings, regionally-focused monthly threat calls, webinars on hot topics, cybersecurity training and summits.

To meet the growing need for cybersecurity talent, FS-ISAC also signed a memorandum of understanding with Temasek Polytechnic to provide internship opportunities for the Polytechnic’s students. Students will be exposed to real world cyber threats to build up their skills in cybersecurity. This initiative supports the financial services industry transformation map initiative to build a local pipeline of specialised IT talent for the financial services sector, including in the area of cybersecurity.

The next FS-ISAC AP Summit will take place in Singapore from July 17 -18, 2018 and includes member meetings, workshops and simulated exercises.

“Information sharing remains one of the most effective ways to stay ahead of cybercrime. Strengthening local intelligence capabilities and cyber-resilience is critical at both a regional and a global level,” said Bill Nelson, president and CEO, FS-ISAC. “Strengthening our presence in Asia Pacific helps build the resilience of the entire global financial services sector.”

Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer of MAS, said, “Against the backdrop of increasingly complex and sophisticated cyber-attacks, it is even more important for countries to stay engaged, foster stronger relationships and exchange information and expertise freely. The Centre’s operations and the regional intelligence reports it produces will help Asia Pacific countries to deal better with cross-border cybercrimes.”

Partnership with ABS

MAS is partnering Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) to review the Technology Risk Management Guidelines. These guidelines are reviewed regularly, but for the first time, the guidelines will be co-created with the industry.

 Mr. Menon said, “We will develop cyber risk management guidance with the industry, for the industry.”

MAS already requires key financial institutions to conduct penetration testing of their cyber defences by independent third-parties.

In order to take this further, MAS is partnering with ABS to establish guidelines for “red-teaming”, to enhance cyber security testing. Red-teaming refers to a covert penetration test conducted on a financial institution’s live environment – its people, processes and technology – to assess their ability to respond to infiltration attempts. It will complement other forms of testing and assessments that are already in place. 

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