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Singapore Defending Critical Infrastructures

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Singapore’s commitment to cybersecurity takes a significant leap forward as the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) partners with the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to launch the inaugural Singapore-Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity 301 (SG-ICS301) course. This endeavour coincides with the Operational Technology Cybersecurity Expert Panel (OTCEP) Forum 2023, symbolising a vital milestone in safeguarding critical infrastructures against cyber threats.

The SG-ICS301 course, inspired by CISA’s highly successful ICS301 programme, is geared toward equipping approximately 40 participants hailing from Singapore, ASEAN countries, Bangladesh, and the Maldives with the knowledge and skills necessary to fortify Operational Technology (OT) networks and secure Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) OT systems from the ever-evolving cyber menace.

OT encompasses the interconnection of devices and computers to monitor and manage physical processes, predominantly employed in industrial sectors like energy, manufacturing, transportation, and water management.

In a world where cyber threats are growing increasingly sophisticated, this four-day course stands as a robust response to the pressing need for competent engineers and cybersecurity professionals capable of defending OT systems. By delving into the concepts, strategies, and technologies that underpin the protection of Operational Technology (OT) systems, this course equips participants with the knowledge and skills required to safeguard critical infrastructure and industrial processes.

Additionally, CSA has taken a significant step in bolstering the nation’s cyber defences by signing a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an industrial cybersecurity company. This strategic partnership aims to address the escalating cyber threats targeting Operational Technology (OT) systems and enhance Singapore’s preparedness against potential cyber-attacks.

David Koh, Commissioner of Cybersecurity and Chief Executive of CSA, underscored the significance of the partnership. He highlighted the growing interconnectivity of OT systems with the internet and the potential real-world consequences of cyber-attacks on critical services. This partnership reflects Singapore’s commitment to strengthening its technological capabilities in OT cybersecurity and highlights the importance of collaboration in defending against evolving cyber threats.

Singapore recognises the imperative need to adopt a proactive stance in safeguarding its critical infrastructure. CSA’s collaboration with an industrial cybersecurity company aligns seamlessly with the nation’s overarching OT Cybersecurity Masterplan, which seeks to fortify the resilience of CII sectors that rely on OT technologies. These sectors include energy, manufacturing, transportation, and water, where OT systems are the backbone of operations.

The MoU encompasses several critical areas of cooperation. First is threat intelligence sharing, which involves the exchange of valuable insights and expertise in the realm of threat detection and hunting. This will equip CSA and CII sector leads with the necessary knowledge to identify and mitigate cyber threats promptly.

Also, the partnership entails consultancy and risk assessment activities. These will involve architecture reviews and cyber risk assessments in OT CII sectors, enabling the identification of vulnerabilities and the implementation of proactive security measures.

Incident response capabilities are another focal point of the MoU. It recognises the significance of developing a robust OT cybersecurity incident response framework. By leveraging an industrial cybersecurity platform technology, Singapore aims to enhance its ability to address sophisticated OT cyber-attacks that demand niche or deep expertise.

Besides, the MoU emphasises the importance of information exchange and training. This will provide a platform for sharing ideas, insights, and expertise. Talent development programmes will be established to nurture local cybersecurity talent and align them with industry best practices, fostering a strong and resilient cybersecurity ecosystem in Singapore.

The MoU will extend its benefits to the broader CII sectors. CII owners will gain access to expert knowledge and resources to fortify their cybersecurity posture. Simultaneously, local cybersecurity companies will have the opportunity to collaborate with each other fostering innovation and knowledge transfer within the industry.


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