StarHub and partners join forces against cyber attacks

At the launch of the initiative yesterday were (from left): Economic Development Board assistant managing director, Ms Thien Kwee Eng; StarHub chief executive officer, Mr Tan; Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry), Mr Iswaran; and adviser, StarH
At the launch of the initiative yesterday were (from left): Economic Development Board assistant managing director, Ms Thien Kwee Eng; StarHub chief executive officer, Mr Tan; Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry), Mr Iswaran; and adviser, StarHub's Cyber Security Centre of Excellence, Professor Yitzhak Ben-Israel.PHOTO: STARHUB

They launch cyber-security initiative and will invest $200m to bolster Singapore's defences

Telco StarHub unveiled an initiative yesterday that aims to bolster Singapore's defences against cyber attacks.

The StarHub Cyber Security Centre of Excellence (COE) is not a physical entity but a community of computer security firms and educational institutes that will collaborate to tackle the many issues surrounding cyber security.

StarHub's ability to monitor cyber threats will allow it access to data on Internet traffic entering Singapore for analysis. It will also liaise with consulting partners from overseas to advise the COE.

"We aim to be a catalyst for innovation," said StarHub chief executive Tan Tong Hai yesterday at the Centre's launch.

Five companies and four institutes have already signed up.

StarHub and its partners will invest an estimated $200 million to carry out various programmes over the next five years.

They will undertake various initiatives, such as collaborative training courses and research, to strengthen Singapore's capabilities in dealing with cyber threats.

The move follows an increased "volume, frequency and complexity" of cyber attacks, said Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran, who spoke at the launch yesterday. "(However), Singapore is well-positioned to capture opportunities from the growing cyber security industry."

One COE aim is to address the shortage of cyber-security talent here by training at least 300 specialists in different cyber-related capabilities over the next five years.

As its first step, StarHub and Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), which is one of the institutes already in the COE, signed a Memorandum of Understanding earlier this month to set up a centre to provide hands-on training for students in the Cyber Security and Forensics course.

"Having an in-house cyber-security operations centre will train students to respond to security threats in reality. This may encourage them to enter (the industry)," said Mr Tin Aung Win, manager of information security at NYP's School of IT.

The COE is also working on a Security Operations Centre at StarHub which will monitor cyber threats around the clock. Once it is up and running within the next few weeks, enterprises will be able to subscribe to a service that will "monitor... (and) look for anomalies in the traffic pro-actively before it enters the enterprise's network". This is intended to pre-empt threats yet to enter a network.

Mr Tan said the centre is the "first of its kind... (to) provide cyber-security services before the firewall."

The COE's other areas of focus include cyber-security solutions to protect industrial control systems and a cloud-based cyber-security solutions that will be ready later this year.

Academics such as NYP's Mr Tin are optimistic about the COE. He said: "In cyber security, what matters is (securing) the weakest link. Prevention, detection, response are part of its process, and the COE provides insights to running this process."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 19, 2016, with the headline 'StarHub and partners join forces against cyber attacks'. Print Edition | Subscribe