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Empowering ASEAN Cyber Resilience

Image credit: mindef.gov.sg
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Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen recently inaugurated the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Cybersecurity and Information Centre of Excellence (ACICE) at Changi Command and Control Centre (CC2C), RSS Singapura – Changi Naval Base.

The establishment of ACICE marks a significant milestone in Singapore’s commitment to enhancing regional security and cooperation in the face of escalating cyber threats, disinformation, and misinformation. The centre aims to foster multilateral collaboration among ASEAN countries and other partners through information sharing and capacity building to effectively combat cyber threats.

Dr Ng emphasised the growing importance of cybersecurity in the evolving security landscape and stressed that ACICE’s primary goal is to provide comprehensive situational awareness and early warning capabilities in the digital domain. By doing so, the centre seeks to empower member states with the knowledge and tools required to respond promptly to emerging cyber threats.

The vision for ACICE goes beyond being merely an information-sharing platform. Dr Ng envisions it as a hub for capacity building, promoting expertise in cybersecurity and information domains across ASEAN nations. The centre can play a pivotal role in forging a consensus on the “rules of the road” that should govern the digital domain, promoting a unified approach to combatting cyber threats in the region.

To ensure the success of its mission, ACICE has assembled an expert panel comprising distinguished academics and industry experts. This panel will provide valuable insights into emerging global trends and developments in cybersecurity and information domains, enabling ACICE to remain at the forefront of cutting-edge solutions and strategies.

The inauguration of ACICE was marked by several significant events, including the inaugural Digital Defence Symposium and the ACICE Experts Panel meeting. Additionally, the ASEAN Roundtable on Digital Defence provided officials from ASEAN member states (AMS) with a platform to share perspectives, discuss critical issues, and explore potential areas of collaboration. These events served to foster trust and confidence among AMS in their collective efforts to address cyber and information security challenges.

Since its operationalisation in September 2021, ACICE has been actively engaged in raising awareness and knowledge on potential threats to regional security. The centre has been issuing monthly reports to keep member states informed about the latest cybersecurity and information domain trends and developments. This timely dissemination of information enables AMS to stay vigilant and proactive in countering potential threats.

In February 2023, ACICE took a significant step forward in enhancing regional cyber resilience by launching the Malware Information Sharing Platform (MISP). The platform facilitates the swift and seamless sharing of cybersecurity threat information among AMS. This collaborative approach enables early warning, timely response, and effective mitigation of cyberattacks, reducing the potential impact of such threats on the region.

ACICE’s efforts have been commendable in bolstering ASEAN’s collective defence against cyber threats. The centre’s commitment to promoting information sharing and capacity building among member states has reinforced regional preparedness and response capabilities.

Having a strong cybersecurity centre enhances a country’s credibility in international forums and strengthens cooperation with other nations on cybersecurity matters. A robust cybersecurity environment attracts businesses and investments, fostering economic growth by providing a secure digital ecosystem.

A CICE’s efforts to safeguard critical infrastructure and data promote public trust in the digital realm, encouraging increased usage of online services and digital technologies. It can serve as an innovation hub, supporting research and development efforts to stay ahead of evolving cyber threats and challenges.

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