SINGAPORE: More needs to be done even as Singapore has made "good progress" in building up its cybersecurity capabilities, as it is more exposed than many other countries to cyberattacks, said Acting Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on Tuesday (Sep 19).
To address this, and as part of efforts to invest in its people, Mr Teo said the Cyber Security Agency (CSA) will develop a new academy to train cybersecurity professionals, and it will partner leading industry partners to train those in government and critical information infrastructure (CII) sectors. This will be opened in the later part of this fiscal year, and will be expanded later to include cybersecurity professionals for the wider community.
US-based cybersecurity vendor FireEye will be its first partner to help provide training in incident response and malware analysis, the minister said. Mr Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security, was speaking at the opening of the second Singapore International Cyber Week here.
In a separate press release on Tuesday, FireEye said its incident response training, for instance, is designed to build capabilities to effectively defend against cyberattacks on computer systems and rapidly detect and respond to cyber threats.
CEO Kevin Mandia said: “FireEye has trained incident responders and malware analysts at some of the most prestigious government agencies and businesses around the world.
“We are proud to build the capabilities of Singapore’s cybersecurity professionals who serve on the front lines and help protect Singapore and its critical information infrastructure from attackers.”
RECOGNISING OUTSTANDING TALENT
Additionally, the Government will also launch the Cybersecurity Awards to recognise outstanding cybersecurity professionals, enterprises and students who have made “significant contributions” to the ecosystem, Mr Teo said.
The awards are organised by the Association of Information Security Professionals (AISP) and supported by CSA and six other professional and industry associations, he said, adding that the inaugural awards will be presented next February.
Besides boosting the local talent pool, Mr Teo said the Government will also strengthen its national cybersecurity capabilities, including developing a new Cybersecurity Bill.
CSA has also worked with the Industrial Control Systems community to develop a set of guidelines for industrial control systems used in the energy, water, maritime and land transport sectors, he said.
“With these guidelines, we expect companies and agencies to adopt stronger cybersecurity measures,” he said.
BOLSTERING INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
On the international level, Singapore is working to strengthen cooperation among national Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), the Deputy Prime Minister said.
For instance, when the WannaCry ransomware attacks took place earlier this year, CSA exchanged insights with the UK and shared analysis with those in the Asia Pacific CERT community, he noted. Mr Teo also shared that CSA had discovered some “active malware targeting a particular vulnerability” last year, and SingCERT informed counterparts in India on the potential threats to some of their computer systems.
“This enabled them to swiftly investigate and take action. Such partnerships will allow us to better deploy our limited resources, and speed up our responses globally, to counter increasingly sophisticated cyber threats,” he said.
Another area for international cooperation is when some of the CIIs here have impact beyond Singapore, and they in turn depend on CIIs in other countries.
These “supra-national CIIs” include global payment systems, port operations systems and air traffic control systems, Mr Teo pointed out, adding the international community can coordinate efforts to conduct regular exercises to validate the collective ability to respond to threats against these supra-national CIIs.
Additionally, Singapore has been working closely with partners in the Forum of Small States to foster a “more inclusive and cross-cutting conversation” on cyber norms, the minister said.
The country stands ready to contribute and has joined the management board of the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace, Mr Teo said.
“I am glad that the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs which has competence over cybersecurity matters has been supportive of Singapore’s contributions,” he said.