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Enhancing Cyber Security in Singapore

Cybersecurity is front and centre in the current global VUCA environment coupled with the acceleration of digital adoption importance by almost all countries. Society at large is more reliant on technology than ever before and there is no sign that this trend will slow.

With the major transition of work, commerce and life online, opportunities for bad cyber actors have risen dramatically. As people conduct meetings, shop, work, access entertainment and banking online, data leaks and theft is more likely. Governments around the world are paying more attention to cyber resilience and putting into place stronger and more robust security measures.

Singapore, like other countries, too, has been focused on boosting its cyber preparedness and national resiliency. With the regulatory, commercial and reputational risk of cybersecurity issues in the nation increasing, the public and private sectors must implement a strong cybersecurity framework comprised of policies, procedures, and practices to ensure the identification, protection, and detection of cybersecurity threats, as well as the adequate response and recovery from cybersecurity incidents.

Singapore is, in fact, one of the countries leading the charge in the region and has implemented a slew of initiatives to manage and mitigate the country’s increasing cybersecurity threats.

Cybersecurity and Information Centre of Excellence

With working-from-home becoming the norm for many people in the midst of the CVOID-19 pandemic, it has also been the reason that many Singaporean organisations have fallen victim to cyber-attacks. A report had stated that about eight in 10 public- and private-sector organisations here attributed such a working arrangement to a rise in cyber-attacks across the board.

To combat this, a new Cybersecurity and Information Centre of Excellence will be established to improve exchanges among Asean defence establishments against cyber-attacks, disinformation, and misinformation threats.

Last week, ASEAN officials adopted a declaration that reaffirmed the regional group’s commitment to tackling prevailing and emerging transboundary security threats in the region. The officials recommitted to strengthening regional cooperation for a swift and strong recovery from the COVID-19 situation.

Cyber Security Masterplan

The Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) launched a cyber-security master plan early on for operational technology (OT). The plan aims to improve cross-sector response to cyber threats in the OT environment while also strengthening partnerships with industry and stakeholders. The OT Cybersecurity Masterplan outlines key initiatives addressing people, processes, and technology to improve the cybersecurity postures of the CII owners and organisations that operate OT systems.

Last year the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) issued numerous alerts about surging cyber hostilities such as tech support scams and the emergence of threat actors capitalising on COVID-19 as scammers introduced new schemes almost on a monthly basis. These included e-commerce scams involving forged police reports and others promoting fraudulent job opportunities on e-commerce platforms.

To raise public awareness about scams, a Singapore-based cybersecurity company, organised the summit on digital risk, an online conference featuring keynote speakers from the United Nations International Computing Centre with global market research and other advisory company.

The organising company has investigated over 1,000 cyber incidents worldwide to date and has collaborated with international law enforcement agencies such as INTERPOL and Europol.

Statistics shared at the summit shows the number of scam- and phishing-related violations detected has increased by an all-time high of 88% year-on-year in 2020. This is the highest rate in comparison to other regions, with Europe accounting for 39%, the Commonwealth of Independent States accounting for 35%, and the Middle East accounting for 27.5%.

Cyber Risk Management Project

At the Asia Cyber Risk Summit, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced the Cyber Risk Management Project (CRMP). The CRMP facilitates the systematic collection and modelling of cyber risks data by bringing together government bodies (MAS and CSA), public institutions (including the Nanyang Technological University) and a number of other private organisations. The initiative’s focus is on fostering research and development into cyber threat assessment tools as well as encouraging the use of cyber risk insurance.

These recent cyber security initiatives are part of the government’s ongoing efforts to reach out to individuals, the private sector, and universities to raise security awareness and develop the necessary skills and mindset to become a secure, Smart Nation.

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