New Cybersecurity Act to be tabled in 2017: Yaacob Ibrahim

New Cybersecurity Act to be tabled in 2017: Yaacob Ibrahim

The Communications and Information Minister says the Act will provide for "stronger and more proactive powers".

SINGAPORE: There will be a new, standalone Cybersecurity Act that will be tabled in Parliament next year, said Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim on Monday (Apr 11).

Speaking on his ministry's portion of Budget 2016 in Parliament, Dr Yaacob said the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) will review the policy and legislative framework for cybersecurity, and this is especially important as the country moves towards its Smart Nation vision.

"Broadly speaking, the Bill will ensure that operators take proactive steps to secure our critical information infrastructure, and report incidents. It will also empower the Cyber Security Agency (CSA) to manage cyber incidents and raise the standards of cybersecurity providers in Singapore," he elaborated.

He said the existing Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act (CMCA) grants powers for law enforcement agencies to investigate and apprehend individuals or entities behind cybercrime. However, such attacks have increased in sophistication and attackers have become faster and bolder.

"It is inevitable that Singapore’s critical information infrastructure will at some point be targets. The interconnectivity in our networks also means that the effects of cyberattacks can be contagious," Dr Yaacob said.

WORKING WITH SMES, C-SUITES ON CYBERSECURITY

The Minister also acknowledged that there are two main challenges facing small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): Cost and lack of awareness.

He said while breaches at big corporations may make headlines, SMEs are not spared as the lack of cybersecurity protection make them easy targets. "Many SME owners do not even have IT staff to ensure that their systems and networks are protected, and often rely on off-the-shelf solutions. Others are not conscious of the threats and how best to protect themselves."

To address this, he said the Government had worked with the Singapore Business Federation last October to launch the Employee Cybersecurity Kit, which helps companies assess and improve their cybersecurity programme.

The CSA will build on such efforts and continue to work with industry partners and associations to encourage SMEs to adopt measures to up their cybersecurity, Dr Yaacob said.

The agency is also working on an awareness programme to educate and sensitise C-suite executives to potential cyber threats at their firms, he added.

Source: CNA/kk

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