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Saturday, 31 January 2015

CYBERSECURITY AGENCY TO BE FORMED IN SINGAPORE

A day before "DATA PRIVACY DAY", Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s office announced the creation of the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, which “will provide dedicated and centralised oversight of national cyber security functions.” Given the sinister ways in which cyber threats are evolving, the move is a necessary step for a wired, wealthy nation that has long been the target of cybercrime.

This is a rare radical step towards the fight against cybercrimes in Singapore which came at the right time considering  a string of attacks on Singapore government portals, including the websites of the office of the prime minister and the president in 2013, as well as  recent cyber-attacks against Finland, Germany, Ukraine, and U.S and other parts of the world.

The agency, which will work closely with the private sector, will be involved in "strategy and policy development, cyber security operations, industry development and outreach," according to the statement.

Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim will be put in charge of cyber security, it said. Last year Yaacob said the city-state was upgrading its Cyber-Watch Centre, allowing it to track malicious activities and respond swiftly when there are security breaches.

He said the government was working to increase the number of homegrown cyber security experts by partnering with local universities that offer specialist degrees.

Cyber-attacks cost an estimated "$445 BILLION" in damages per year, At Davos, participants diplomatically shied away from naming exactly which countries are increasing their cooperation with organized cybercrime, but their identities are no secret.


Russia has been accused of sponsoring the hacker group CyberBerkut, which recently took responsibility for the attacks against official German websites. It’s also the more than likely origin of a debilitating cyberattack that took down Estonian banking, government, and media infrastructure in 2007–the first time a country witnessed its critical infrastructure crumble at the hands of hackers.

Similar tactics were later used in Georgia and Ukraine in the lead-up to Russian military aggression, and a similar attack against critical infrastructure could easily happen elsewhere–in the US, for instance, where existing vulnerabilities to electricity, water, and gas networks were recently exposed.

“No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids,” – President Obama said in his State of the Union address.


“We are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism. And tonight, I urge this Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children’s information. If we don't act, we'll leave our nation and our economy vulnerable.” He added.