The Republic will invest more in strengthening government systems against online threats and step up the training of skilled professionals in this area, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday (Oct 10) as he outlined Singapore’s cybersecurity strategy.
Singapore will also step up cooperation with other countries, as well as empower the Cyber Security Agency (CSA) to “direct private sector operators and essential services”, Mr Lee added. The CSA was set up last year to coordinate Singapore’s cybersecurity efforts at the national-level.
“While infocomm technologies bring about opportunities, it also makes us vulnerable,” Mr Lee said at the opening ceremony of the Singapore International Cyber Week. “Globally, cyber threats and attacks are becoming more frequent and sophisticated, with more severe consequences.”
Highlighting the type of attacks that Singapore has been under, he said that Government systems have occasionally been compromised, and the financial sector has also suffered attacks leading to data leaks.
Individuals are also not spared from attacks. Fake websites hosted overseas masquerading as Singapore agencies such as Singapore Police Force and Ministry of Manpower target individuals to phish for personal data or to scam them into sending money.
The Government has moved to mitigate growing online security risks by separating the public service’s Internet surfing from other work systems such as emails. According to Mr Lee, ministers, senior civil servants and half of all public agencies have started on this separation process. The other agencies are on track to follow-suit in mid-2017.
Businesses will also be a key focus in this drive to beef up cybersecurity, as they are “prime targets too”, said Mr Lee, adding that the CSA will issue regular advisories to businesses on imminent cyber-attacks as well as emerging online threats. The agency will also provide technical guides and self-help checklists to help companies strengthen the security of their networks.
“We must put in the systems and defences to ensure our cybersecurity. Only then can IT deliver innovation, growth and prosperity for our businesses and citizens,” said Mr Lee.