The Singapore government wants to take a more proactive stance to address cyber threats, a goal it hopes to achieve under the auspices of its new Cybersecurity Strategy 2021, released on 5 October.
The new strategy comes five years after the launch of the first Singapore Cybersecurity Strategy in 2016 and works to simplify cyber security for end-users while developing deeper partnerships with industry to adapt to the changes in the cyber operating environment.
Singapore’s Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, Teo Chee Hean, launched the updated national cyber security strategy at the sixth edition of the Singapore International Cyber Week (SICW) held this week at the Marina Bay Sands.
In the words of the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), the new strategy outlines Singapore’s plans to take "a more proactive stance" against threats, raise the overall level of cyber security across the nation and advance international norms and standards on cyber security.
The Singapore Cybersecurity Strategy 2021 is also designed to emphasise greater workforce and ecosystem development for businesses and citizens to capitalise on economic opportunities in the cyber security sector, the CSA said.
“As Singapore harnesses digital technology to improve lives and livelihoods for all, cyber security has become a necessity and key enabler for Singapore’s digital economy and Singaporeans’ digital way of life,” the agency said in a statement.
“Developed in consultation with ministries, government agencies, industry and local and overseas academia, the updated strategy...seeks to address new and emerging cyber threats in the wake of strategic and technological shifts.
“These shifts include the opportunities and cyber risks brought about by emerging technologies, such as edge computing and quantum computing, that are potentially disruptive; growing cyber-physical risks as cyber disruptions can spill over to the physical domain; ubiquitous digital connectivity that expanded the attack surface; and increasing geopolitical tensions in cyberspace,” it added.
The new strategy comprises three strategic pillars and two foundational enablers, according to the CSA. The three strategic pillars are: building resilient infrastructure; enabling a safer cyberspace; and enhancing international cyber cooperation.
The two foundational enablers, meanwhile, are: developing a vibrant cyber security ecosystem and growing a robust talent pipeline.
Just days before the launch of the 2021 strategy, Singapore’s Permanent Secretary for Communications and Information, Yong Ying-I, said she wanted to see updated policies and processes, and the adoption of security technologies by design, to help the country fend off emerging operational technology (OT) cyber threats.
“I believe that we stand a better chance of thwarting cyber attacks on OT systems if we work together,” Yong said in a speech during the CSA's inaugural Operational Technology Cybersecurity Expert Panel (OTCEP) Forum on 29 September. “I suggest that we update our policies and processes, adopt security technologies by design and grow talent.
“We should share information and learn from each other so that we can benefit from the collective expertise and efforts in all these areas,” she added.