TAKING note of the number of recent high-profile cyber security breaches, Singapore is stepping up efforts to make the Web more secure by shoring up the country’s cyber defence capabilities.
On Tuesday, Minister for Communications and Information, Yaacob Ibrahim, announced that the Cyber-Watch Centre (CWC) will be upgraded by January next year to strengthen the government’s detection and analytical capabilities.
The minister also announced a number of steps to augment the infocomm security workforce in Singapore. He noted that there was a need to grow Singapore’s pool of infocomm security specialists and build their capabilities. “The biggest growth in manpower requirements will be in the areas of security operations, security engineering and technology. Apart from dedicated cyber-security specialists, other ICT (Infocomm Technology) professionals in areas such as network engineering and application development are also needed in defending network infrastructure or applications from ever-increasing cyber threats,” the minister said.
In view of this need, the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) will launch Singapore’s first undergraduate Information Security degree programme in September next year. Students from SIT will get a chance to pick up practical skills from host organisations through an integrated work-study scheme.
The Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has also included an information security specialisation programme as part of its undergraduate curriculum from this month onwards. The minister noted that more than 30 per cent of the final year cohort has opted for this programme, paving the way for more graduates to join the infocomm security workforce annually.
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has also established on-the-job training and attachment programmes together with industry partners such as KPMG and OCBC to provide real-life training and experiences. From next year, those with the interest and talent who wish to further their studies and carry out research in cyber security can apply for postgraduate scholarships. This scholarship programme, co-developed by the IDA and the National Research Foundation (NRF), will sponsor more than 30 postgraduate candidates.
The CWC upgrade will allow for better monitoring of government websites in order to inspect if there are malicious activities, which could affect access to online public services. In addition, the government will appoint chief information security officers to strengthen the infocomm security governance in government agencies. In tandem with this move, the IDA will set up a Monitoring and Operations Control Centre to provide the government with a full suite of capabilities to guard against security threats and respond to them in a timely manner.
The enhanced CWC aims to provide a wider range of detection capabilities for government agencies on a subscription basis. These include website monitoring, malware protection and network data leakage protection service.