Singapore aims to become cybersecurity hub

Singapore has called on cybersecurity firms to open offices in the city-state to take advantage of its technical prowess, skilled workforce and international networks. 

National security minister Teo Chee Hean said firms could use Singapore’s connections for cross-border collaboration to enhance cybersecurity.

Teo said increasing cyber dangers meant Singapore needed private cybersecurity companies to help it bolster its online defences and seize opportunities offered by digital technology.

The Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) recently reported that 48 per cent of respondents to an online survey of 1,105 respondents aged over 15 experienced at least one cyber incident last year.

Incidents include being hacked, data theft or receiving excessive pop-up advertising, a common sign of malware infection. 

The agency said 15 per cent of respondents reported that they were a customer of an organisation that had its data stolen. 

Teo said he was keen to bolster virtual defences. 

He was speaking at the opening of Ensign InfoSecurity, a cybersecurity company formed by Singapore-based StarHub and state-run investment company Temasek Holdings.

Teo said: “There is potential to work together by tapping our human capital, technical expertise, networks and understanding of our region.”

The July 2018 SingHealth hack, the most serious data breach in Singaporean history, is seen as a stark reminder not to be lulled into a false sense of security.

The minister said Ensign was using Temasek’s networks to collaborate with security firms like Sygnia, Claroty and IronNet.

“People, innovation and collaboration are crucial to building world-class cybersecurity capabilities that we need in Singapore,” he said.

Ensign said its Security Operations Centre (SOC) would detect cyber threats to the Lion City. 

The new Ensign headquarters said it would use data analytics and artificial intelligence to identify online threats. 

In June, Group IB, a Russian cybersecurity firm, moved its headquarters from Moscow to Singapore.

Switzerland’s Acronis opened its international headquarters in Singapore and Russia-based Kaspersky has a regional office in the city-state. 

The number of phishing attacks, ransomware incidents and website defacements in Singapore dropped last year, according to the Cyber Security Agency (CSA). 

But it reported this year that cyber-threats grew in scale and sophistication and further attacks were inevitable. 

“Even as we strive to make our systems as secure as possible, it is imperative that we respond to an incident swiftly, robustly and decisively,” said David Koh, CEO of the CSA. 

Website defacement fell from 2,040 cases in 2017 to 605 last year, the agency reported.


Picture credit: NeedPix