S'pore, Jakarta target cyber threats jointly

Singapore and Indonesia, which have long cooperated on defence and counter-terrorism, are also working together in tackling cyber threats, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean yesterday.

"We had many positive and good exchanges in counter-terrorism, and I thanked our Indonesian counterparts for helping arrest groups in Indonesia who may be thinking of causing Singapore harm," he added.

DPM Teo was speaking to reporters in Jakarta where he was attending the Indian Ocean Rim Association Leaders' Summit, which ended on Tuesday.

He also met Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto, and Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu, separately on the sidelines of the summit on Monday.

During those meetings, they exchanged views on regional security issues, including the terrorist threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the importance of enhancing regional cooperation in cyber security.

"We are sharing our experiences in how to run a cyber security agency and the Indonesians are interested in setting up one as well," said Mr Teo.

He had announced in January 2015 that Singapore will set up the Cyber Security Agency (CSA) to coordinate public- and private-sector efforts to protect national systems from cyber threats.

Indonesia announced last month that it will also set up its own National Cyber Agency to deal with cyber crimes in the country.

Mr Wiranto had said earlier that even though Indonesia's Defence Ministry, State Intelligence Agency, police and Communications and Information Ministry have developed their respective cyber divisions, there were still security gaps that needed to be plugged. He added both countries could cooperate further and share experiences.

DPM Teo yesterday stressed the importance of building strong people-to-people ties between Indonesia and Singapore as the two countries mark 50 years of diplomatic relations later this year.

"This year will be the 50th anniversary for the Republic of Indonesia-Singapore relations so our embassy has dubbed that as 'RI-SING 50', or Rising 50," he added, noting that a key event to commemorate the milestone will be a Leaders' Retreat that is set for September.

DPM Teo said Singapore is closely monitoring the diplomatic row between Malaysia and North Korea, and the latter's "very active launching of missiles, in the last few days". North Korea on Monday fired four ballistic missiles, three of which landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone.

Francis Chan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2017, with the headline 'S'pore, Jakarta target cyber threats jointly'. Print Edition | Subscribe