Internet and Cyber Security in Singapore: The Maginot Line
Hopefully it is not too little too late that Singapore is putting more effort to fortify its cyber defence with IDA teaming up with the private sector, FireEye. There were already recent news that Singapore was shoring up such defences and vigilance recently outside of the wannabe or genuine Anonymous attack on trophy target Singapore. Mindef unveiled its Cyber Defence Operations Hub mid–last year. This Hub is a SAF gauntlet for defence and without saying, deterrence as well. The government also bragged that it would spend $130 million over the next 5 years to boost cyber defence in October, presciently just before the Anonymous hacking. Can these measures prevent an attack? No, but at least something is done so that Singapore is no easy picking.
Not only with the Anonymous and Anonymous-inspired hacking, but states have been going one on one in cyberattack, hacking and espionage in the last decade. In 2007, Russia cyber-steamrolled Estonia. The West like the US have constantly accused China of cyber spying. The Snowden affair showed that the US is equally culpable of cyber spying while pretending to be aboveboard in its dealings with it allies even. Our friends in the region also have their vigilante nationalist cyber armies. Last year, hackers in Philippines and Malaysia had a few rounds with each other, and Indonesian hackers threw a cyber pie in the Australian government’s face when they vandalised the website of an Australian intelligence agency.
The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) anticipates more serious coordinated threats in the future.
Speaking at the launch of a centre for excellence in cyber security in Singapore on Wednesday morning, IDA’s managing director Jacqueline Poh acknowledged the attacks carried out by a group of hackers claiming to be from the Anonymous collective in November were “unprecedented”. And there could be more.
“We are under no illusion that this is the end. We could face more serious coordinated threats in future, in addition to the numerous ones we deal with every day,” she said.
She stressed the importance behind organisations constantly beefing up their capabilities in defending themselves against cyber threats, noting that attacks like the ones that occurred late last year underscore this.
“The widespread, chronic problems of malware aimed at disrupting individual users and website defacement are giving way to more insidious advanced persistent threats aimed at espionage, theft of data and the disruption of critical systems,” she added.
The IDA, together with leading global cyber security firm FireEye, on Wednesday jointly launched the FireEye centre of excellence for cyber security, located at the AXA Tower in Tanjong Pagar.
The centre aims to train skilled professionals in detecting and tackling cyber threats, and will focus on providing support to companies and the government in Singapore and the ASEAN region, while also working to set up partnerships in North Asian countries like South Korea and Japan.