$16m funding for projects to boost Singapore's cyber-security R&D

More than $16 million will be invested to strengthen Singapore's cyber-security research and development, under two separate programmes that aim to produce more commercial cyber-security solutions.

Speaking at the opening of the second Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology (Switch) yesterday, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced the move, and said it would further public- private partnerships in areas of advanced cyber security.

Nine research projects were granted funding of $15.6 million under a grant call by the National Cybersecurity R&D Programme, which was set up in November last year to develop capabilities to meet Singapore's cyber-security needs.

Each project is a collaboration between a cyber-security company and academic researchers, and falls under one of the nation's three key cyber-security priorities: national security, critical infrastructure and Smart Nation.

For example, local cyber-security start-up Attila Cybertech is working with researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design to use machine learning in the software for critical infrastructure in order to detect strange, out-of-the-ordinary behaviour that might indicate a cyber attack.

Such partnerships mean that new research findings can be brought to market faster as there is already a company available to market the research.

"Should our cyber-security researchers arrive at new findings, industry leads... will stand ready to develop them into game-changing solutions," said Mr Heng.

CYBER PARTNERSHIPS

Should our cyber-security researchers arrive at new findings, industry leads... will stand ready to develop them into game-changing solutions.

FINANCE MINISTER HENG SWEE KEAT

Another $600,000 was awarded to six projects under a seed grant call by the Singapore Cybersecurity Consortium, which was launched in September last year. This funding goes to proposals for proof-of- concepts of new cyber-security technologies and ideas.

The projects range from a safety management system for drones to setting up a database for malware that affects the iPhone to the creation of a platform for researchers to store and share confidential research data with minimal risk of leaks.

Separately, Singapore is setting aside $1.5 million over the next three years to train technical officers in Asean member states to boost the region's readiness to combat cyber threats.

The effort includes an industrial attachment programme in Singapore, in what Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said will mark Asean's "move forward as a united and cyber-resilient region".

At the opening of the second annual Asean Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity yesterday at the St Regis Singapore hotel, Dr Yaacob said the plan is to train up to 18 candidates in incident detection, threat containment, service recovery and forensics.

The budget comes from a $10 million initiative, dubbed the Asean Cyber Capacity Programme (ACCP), announced last October when Singapore unveiled its high-level cyber-security strategy.

The ACCP is aimed at training technical officers, policymakers and lawyers from Asean member states.

• Additional reporting by Irene Tham

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2017, with the headline '$16m funding for projects to boost Singapore's cyber-security R&D'. Print Edition | Subscribe