Singapore to boost private sector IT security

SINGAPORE – The public and private sectors will work more closely together to ward off emerging cyberthreats over the next five years under the second stage of the island country’s security strategy.

The government made the move last week in announcing a new S$70 million (US$51 million) Infocomm Security Masterplan 2 (MP2).

The MP2 follows the first Infocomm Security Masterplan which was launched in 2005 as a strategic roadmap to develop capabilities to prevent cyber security incidents.

“While the first Masterplan1 aimed largely at providing the public sector with measures to counter infocomm security threats, the second Masterplan will expand on that and engage both the public and private sectors even more deeply in securing Singapore’s cyber space,” said Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, minister for community development, youth and sports.

Developed through a multi-agency effort led by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), under the guidance of the National Infocomm Security Committee, MP2 outlines four strategies to protect Singapore’s national infocomm infrastructure and services: hardening national infocomm infrastructure and services; enhancing infocomm security competencies; cultivating vibrant infocomm security ecosystem; and increasing international collaboration.

Under MP2, the government is rolling out new security programs over the next five years in association with industry.

According to the IDA, one of the programs to kick start MP2 is the formation of the Association of Information Security Professionals (AISP).

Through the AISP, which is a first in Asia, Singapore hopes to build a critical pool of competent infocomm security professionals who subscribe to the highest standard. To date, more than 120 members have come on board the AISP and a total of 900 members are expected by 2011. Members from the executive committee of the AISP come from origination such as IDA, Microsoft, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Reuters Asia and Singapore Computer Society, among others.

A national infocomm scholarship for infocomm security has also been instituted. This scholarship offers students the chance to study infocomm security at the tertiary level. The IDA, together with infocomm companies, will offer up to 20 scholarships in infocomm security over the next five years.

A Cyber Security Awareness Alliance has also been formed to raise awareness and adoption of cyber security measures among individuals and businesses through educational workshops, seminars and collaterals. Organizations such as BT Frontline, Cisco Systems, HP Singapore, IDA, Juniper Networks, McAfee Singapore and Symantec Singapore, among others, are represented in this alliance.

These measures will be further enhanced by cyber security exercises that will test the nation’s ability to respond and recover from cyber attacks that cause widespread disruptions.

In addition, sector-specific infocomm security programs will be launched to assess and develop customized solutions that meet each sector’s unique security requirements. This initiative, led by the IDA, will commence with the government, infocomm and energy sectors.

According to IDA, the government will continue to exchange information and explore collaborations with other governments to combat cyber threats and foster close working relations.

As part of this international effort, for example, Singapore will host Meridian 2008, a key infocomm security conference in October. Meridian is a platform for governments around the world to gather and exchange ideas and best practices in the protection of critical infocomm infrastructures.

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