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Conversations about cybersecurity have taken on greater urgency following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: Josephine Teo

Conversations about cybersecurity have taken on greater urgency following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: Josephine Teo

A screenshot of Communications and Information Minister Josephine Teo speaking during a panel discussion at the Tallinn Digital Summit on Oct 11, 2022.

SINGAPORE: Conversations about cybersecurity have taken on a greater sense of urgency following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, said Communications and Information Minister Josephine Teo on Tuesday (Oct 11).

Speaking to reporters at a virtual media doorstop, she highlighted how Ukraine’s efforts to build cyber resilience over the years helped it to maintain contact with citizens and continue providing some services, despite being under seige.

Reiterating her message from last year’s summit, she stressed the need to shift cybersecurity posture from emphasising preventative measures to an “assume breach” mindset. 

“We should practice zero trust in how we defend our systems and also, in some sense, assume that we have already been breached. This is significant as a paradigm because it changes the way we think about our priorities and our posture,” she said.

“It means that from just doing threat hunting, penetration testing, (or) trying to build up the defences, we would also have equal focus on recovery - in the event that we identify a breach - and also make the effort to build resilience in our cybersecurity systems,” she added.

Mrs Teo was wrapping up a week-long working visit to the UK and Estonia, where she met government officials and industry leaders as well as participated in the Tallinn Digital Summit in Estonia.

During a panel discussion at the summit on Tuesday, Mrs Teo said the cyber landscape has seen intensifying international cooperation. However, more needs to be done in terms of capacity building and exchange of information.

She also stressed the importance of strengthening rules-based international order in cyberspace.

REGULATING CYBERSPACE

Turning to Singapore, Mrs Teo highlighted recent efforts to further regulate cyberspace. This includes updating the Personal Data Protection Act in 2020 as well as tabling a new Bill last week that will make social media platforms liable if they fail to protect users from harmful online content.

With the digital domain evolving so quickly, she said regulations must be properly scoped in order to be effective.

“If you want to cover everything at one go, it is not impossible, but it simply makes even debating a Bill very challenging, because there are just too many dimensions,” she said.

“Each one of us is trying to find our way forward. With digital regulations, there's really no play book ... it’s not like building codes or fire safety codes.”

Parliament will debate the Bill at its second reading, which is slated for next month.

Source: CNA/vl(zl)

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