2020 is a significant year for Singapore’s Smart Nation vision, as the Government takes stock of what they have achieved and shape their journey forward till 2025 (or 2030, in some instances). Singapore Digital (SG:D) has introduced several initiatives to empower small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with cloud-native solutions and digital payments. Cybersecurity remains a concern and the Cyber Security Agency (CSA) was established in 2015 with the express purpose of making cybersecurity a foundation for digital adoption in enterprises and citizens. Late last year the CSA and TNB Ventures announced the 2019 Cybersecurity Industry Call for Innovation in collaboration with 10 participating organisations, including the Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS), Jurong Town Corporation (JTC), Keppel Data Centres, Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), and Ministry of Health (MOH). The aim is to build capability in areas such as:
- Cyber Readiness. To support cyber self-assessment and ensure overall cyber preparedness
- Industrial Protection. To defend Operational Technology (OT) systems against potential cyber threats
- Secure Access. To help users manage authentication and ensure safe systems access
- Smart Detection. To identify anomalies and intrusions and provide intelligent threat analysis.
CSA recently announced that 9 cybersecurity organisations have been selected to receive USD 0.70 million to build security capabilities to boost Singapore’s defences in critical industries such as Healthcare, Energy & Utilities, Smart City and Public Sector, under the Co-innovation and Development Proof-of-Concept Funding Scheme.
The organisations selected – Group-IB; Secure IC; Acronis; Amaris AI; Scantist; SecureAge; Insider security; EY Advisory; and Emerson – bring a range of cybersecurity capabilities product and service capabilities, to address critical cybersecurity challenges in analysing and predicting attacks from various sources, threat actors and cybercriminal identities.
Singapore’s Continued Focus on Cybersecurity
Singapore has witnessed various threats and breaches at industrial and Government level. Ecosystm Principal Advisor Andrew Milroy says, “The Singapore Government faces an increasing risk for malicious cyber activity. The SingHealth breach of 2018 highlighted the importance of up-to-date cybersecurity within Singapore government agencies. Of particular concern is the growing threat from nation state actors – this is particularly difficult to guard against. These advanced and persistent threats are common and often difficult to detect.”
“Of particular importance is taking a zero-trust approach to cybersecurity – once someone gets into your network, their access to resources must be restricted. Tight control of privilege is also often overlooked so Privileged Access Management (PAM) is critical. CSA is working with these 9 local cybersecurity companies to provide ‘best-of-breed’ customised cybersecurity solutions that will strengthen the cybersecurity posture of government agencies and minimise operational, reputational and legal risk.”
In October last year, CSA announced it’s Operational Technology (OT) masterplan to secure systems in the OT environment, develop OT cybersecurity training programs, strengthen OT policies and mitigate emerging OT cyber threats. One of the key challenges that organisations face in implementing cybersecurity measures is the lack of cyber skills. CSA’s Cybersecurity Career Mentoring Programme provides career guidance to young aspiring professionals and tertiary students who are keen to pursue their career in cybersecurity. In June CSA partnered with SCS to organise the program.
Through such programs and initiatives, Singapore aims to strengthen its cyber resilience and make cyber capability a foundation for its Smart Nation vision.