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National cybersecurity R&D laboratory to be ready by end-2016

The laboratory is a shared national research infrastructure which can be used by the local research community and industry. 

SINGAPORE: A National Cybersecurity R&D Laboratory at the National University of Singapore (NUS) will be operational by the end of this year, announced Chairman of A*STAR Lim Chuan Poh on Thursday (Jan 14).

It will receive S$8.4 million in funding over three years from the National Research Foundation, under the National Cybersecurity R&D Programme.

Speaking at the inaugural Singapore Cybersecurity R&D conference, Mr Lim said: "The anonymous and inter-connected cyberspace is not just exploited by criminals and terrorists to carry out identity theft, financial fraud, coordinate terrorist activities and steal corporate information, but also by state actors to conduct industrial espionage, disrupt critical infrastructure and plant malicious software which then can be subsequently exploited."

"We really have to take all these cybersecurity challenges and threats very seriously," he added.

The new laboratory will allow researchers to come up with innovative solutions to guard against such threats.

Mr Lim said the NUS School of Computing's security research group will be tasked with setting up the laboratory, which will be a shared national research infrastructure which can be used by the local research community and industry. This includes for the validation of research outcomes and for collaborative work with industry or international partners.

He added that the R&D facility will also curate useful datasets for cybersecurity experiments.

The two-day conference, held at the Singapore University of Technology and Design, brings together about 400 academics and practitioners. It focuses on the importance of design in integrating cybersecurity into a system early rather than as an afterthought. 

NUS Associate Professor Chang Ee-Chien, lead principal investigator at the National Cybersecurity R&D Laboratory, said that as it is tedious to set up an environment for testing, the new facility will help researchers set up such an environment easily, so that they can test their solutions and simulate attacks on a big scale.

"It will improve the responsiveness in their research and also encourage innovations," Assoc Prof Chang said. 

Dr Guo Charng Rang, Programme Director at the National Cybersecurity R&D Laboratory, said that in the first year, the centre will set up 100 computers and this will grow to 300 computers by next year.

"It will be quite a big computing power where Singapore is concerned ... So if (researchers) have new algorithms, new solutions or new attacks, definitely they can use the facility to test out," Dr Guo said. The laboratory will also facilitate collaborations with industry and international partners.

Separately, the National Cybersecurity R&D Programme Office inked a Memorandum of Understanding with Tel Aviv University to collaborate in cybersecurity research.