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Singapore Leading the Way in Cybersecurity Resilience

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The mid-year statistics for scams and cybercrime in 2023 released by the Singapore Police Force reveal a concerning surge in online scams, prompting the government to implement a comprehensive set of measures to counter the growing threat and maintain a secure online environment for citizens amidst the digitalisation wave.

Image credits: Ministry of Communication and Information

In a strategic move in 2022, the Singapore Police Force established the Anti-Scam Command (ASCom), bringing together expertise from major banks and law enforcement. ASCom successfully halted over 9,000 bank accounts and recovered approximately S$50.8 million in the first half of 2023.

Close collaboration with banks and the CPF Board led to the introduction of tools empowering victims to mitigate losses, such as a self-service “kill-switch” for compromised bank accounts and a “Money Lock” feature rolled out by banks in November 2023. The government, through the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), initiated proactive measures to block scam calls and SMSes, resulting in the blocking of over 310 million potential scam calls in 2023.

To address the risks associated with high-value transactions, mandatory facial verification through Singpass was implemented in 2022. Legislative amendments in May 2023 increased penalties for those facilitating scammers’ misuse of Singpass or bank accounts, and the new Online Criminal Harms Act, passed in July 2023, outlines requirements for online platforms to protect consumers and take swift action against fraudulent accounts or content.

In collaboration with major banks, efforts to enhance security features for banking applications and design secure-by-design features for user devices have been successful. The Shared Responsibility Framework (SRF), scheduled for implementation in the first half of 2024, will hold banks and telcos accountable for protecting customers from phishing and provide swift recourse for victims.

While the government remains committed to its initiatives, public vigilance is deemed paramount. Public education campaigns, such as the “ACT” against scams, encourage citizens to adopt the ScamShield app, be alert to scam signs, and report incidents to authorities.

Consumer education tools, including the Marketplace Transaction Safety Ratings (TSR) and Internet Hygiene Portal (IHP), play a crucial role in assisting the public in making informed decisions during online transactions. As Singapore actively works towards fostering a secure digital environment, the collective efforts of the government and an informed public are indispensable in the ongoing battle against scams.

Beyond the immediate impact on citizens, the government’s commitment to thwarting online scams enhances Singapore’s global standing as a secure and reliable digital hub, attracting international investments and partnerships. This approach not only fortifies government-citizen trust but also encourages collaboration and reporting of potential threats.

Singapore’s proactive stance in cybersecurity measures positions it as a global leader, setting an example for other nations to emulate. By prioritising individual empowerment through awareness, collaboration, and preparedness, Singapore aims to build collective cybersecurity resilience, ensuring a robust defence against cyber threats in the digital era.

Singapore is actively investing in and prioritising national cybersecurity measures to fortify its digital defences, ensuring resilience against cyber threats and reinforcing its standing as a secure and innovative digital hub globally.

As part of its national cybersecurity efforts, the Cyber Security Agency has introduced the “Safe App Standard” to guide local developers in implementing essential security controls. It aims to safeguard mobile applications against threats like malware and phishing and ensure the security of end-users and transactions, responding to the widespread use of mobile apps highlighted in the CSA’s 2022 Cybersecurity Awareness Survey.


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