February 24, 2024

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Singapore Explores Measures to Strengthen Financial Sector’s Cybersecurity 

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has reached out to cybersecurity experts to explore ways to prepare the country’s financial sector for technology risks in increasingly hostile cyberspace.

During the MAS Cyber Security Advisory Panel’s (CSAP) sixth annual meeting, officials stressed that financial institutions (FIs) should develop efficient and decisive responses to new cyber threats. The panel emphasised the need for greater cross-border cooperation; efficient information exchange and more joint exercises to test cyber responses.

It suggested adopting a holistic approach to dealing with digital banking scams. For FIs to strengthen the security of digital banking services, the panel recommended:

  • verifying and restricting the device from which a customer can access digital banking services
  • using biometrics as an additional form factor to authenticate high-risk transactions
  • leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for real-time fraud monitoring

The panel also discussed mitigating cybersecurity risks related to the increasing use of distributed ledger technology (DLT). Although DLT related security solutions are still nascent, recent cyberattacks on DLT platforms emphasise the need for FIs to monitor for new modes of attacks and upgrade security controls to protect their DLT-based services, the panel said.

The country’s financial sector must also prepare for emerging risks associated with quantum computing. FIs should monitor the development of international standards on post-quantum cryptography and learn to identify weaker cryptographic solutions.

The panel also explored how FIs can manage concentration risks associated with critical third-party service providers. It called for the harmonisation of cyber resilience standards globally and for financial authorities to work together to engage public cloud service providers on their risk management controls and practices.

The meeting was a two-day event during which the CSAP held discussions with major FIs in the country. Participants of the CSAP meeting included representatives from the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, Defence Science and Technology Agency, the Home Team Science and Technology Agency, and the Infocomm Media Development Authority.

In September, the country launched the Financial Services Industry Transformation Map (ITM) 2025. It lays out the growth strategies for Singapore to become a premier international financial hub in Asia, connecting global markets, supporting Asia’s development, and serving the Singapore economy.

Earlier The Monetary Authority of Singapore published two consultation papers proposing regulatory measures to reduce the risk of consumer harm from cryptocurrency trading and to support the development of stablecoins as a credible medium of exchange in the digital asset ecosystem. These measures will be part of the Payment Services Act.

Singapore aspires to be Asia’s philanthropic hub by developing impact monitoring tools, philanthropy advisory competencies, and novel philanthropy models. MAS forecasts that the financial sector will increase by 4% to 5% per year between 2021 and 2025, creating 3,000-4,000 net jobs per year. It will collaborate with the financial industry to strengthen skills in asset classes where Singapore plays an important regional or global role.

The ITM includes five main strategies: strengthening asset classes, digitising financial infrastructure, catalysing Asia’s net-zero transition, shaping the future of financial networks, and cultivating a competent and adaptive workforce.

By anchoring new FX platforms and liquidity takers, MAS hopes to widen and deepen the electronic foreign exchange (FX) trading ecosystem. Further, it will catalyse insurance risk advice and alternative risk transfer solutions for Asia, address pandemic, climate, and cyber threats, and encourage capital market engagement in risk financing.


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