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MAS’ SGD 30 million grant to enhance cybersecurity capabilities

A new SGD 30 million grant has been set aside by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to enhance cybersecurity capabilities in the financial sector. In an announcement made today, the Cybersecurity Capabilities Grant serves to strengthen cyber resilience of the financial sector in Singapore and help financial institutions develop local talent in cybersecurity. Two key tenets in weaving a formidable cybersecurity strategy.

What the Cybersecurity Capabilities Grant is For

The Grant is funded under the Financial Sector Technology and Innovation Scheme (FSTI). FSTI was introduced by MAS in June 2015 to support the creation of a vibrant ecosystem for innovation in the financial sector. A total SGD 225 million has been committed by MAS.

Advanced cybersecurity functions development in Singapore-based financial institutions will be supported by the Grant. Possible functions could include security operations, cyber threat surveillance and intelligence gathering, computer forensics, malware research and analysis, and cyber threat hunting.

Up to 50% of qualifying expenses, capped at SGD 3 million, will be co-funded for the following pursuits:

First, for financial institutions to establish their global or regional cybersecurity centres of excellence in Singapore.

Second, for financial institutions with key global or regional cybersecurity and operations in Singapore to expand and deepen their cybersecurity capabilities locally.

Additionally, the Grant encourages Singapore-based financial institutions to upskill their local workforce through cybersecurity-related training programs. Through this manner, more cybersecurity professionals will be attracted and the local talent pool in the financial sector can be expanded.

MAS Champions Cyber Resilience

MAS has been proactive in strengthening financial institution’s cyber resilience. Back in September 2018, the financial regulator issued for consultation proposed requirements for financial institutions in Singapore to implement essential cybersecurity measures to protect their IT systems. Six cybersecurity measures were outlined in the release.

Even more recently, in October 2018, MAS’ Cyber Security Advisory Panel also proposed ways to enhance financial sector cyber resilience. The Panel discussed the opportunities and challenges arising from public cloud services and APIs.

Other than cybersecurity capability building, MAS has also sought to improve how AI and data analytics are applied in the financial sector. The FEAT Principles are testament.

Mr Tan Yeow Seng, Chief Cyber Security Officer, MAS, said, “The Singapore financial sector has made significant progress in recent years in building up cyber resilience and managing cyber risk. But the cyber threat landscape continues to evolve and we have to constantly strengthen our cyber capabilities. The Cybersecurity Capabilities Grant will support financial institutions in advancing their cybersecurity technology and manpower needs.”

Applications for the grant are now open for financial institutions. For financial institutions interested in applying, they are advised to write to fsdf@mas.gov.sg for more information.

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