Govt launches $10m fund to help Asean fight cyber threats

COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION MINISTER YAACOB IBRAHIM
COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION MINISTER YAACOB IBRAHIM

Asean Cyber Capacity Programme will help train technical officers, policymakers and lawyers

Singapore is taking concrete steps to step up cooperation across Asean for a more secure cyberspace, Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said yesterday as he launched a $10 million fund to help fellow Asean nations build up their cyber response capabilities.

Dr Yaacob, who is minister-in-charge of cyber security, told the first Asean Ministerial Conference on Cyber Security at the Shangri-La Hotel the grouping could focus its efforts in three areas to fight the "full spectrum of cyber threats: cybercrime, espionage, and other malicious activities".

The meeting came a day after Singapore launched its National Cyber Security Strategy, in which building regional and global partnerships to fight cyber threats is a key pillar.

The first area Asean members can cooperate in is helping strengthen one another's technical capabilities to better respond to incidents.

South-east Asia is a prime target for cyber attacks, and a Singtel-FireEye study found organisations in the region face a 45 per cent higher risk of a targeted cyber attack than the global average. One in four such attacks is aimed at governments.

COLLECTIVE EFFORT

We can support the IGCI (Interpol Global Complex for Innovation) by seconding more Asean law- enforcement officers to the IGCI. By partnering Interpol, we can conduct more joint operations against cyber criminals and enhance the collective safety and security of Asean.

COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION MINISTER YAACOB IBRAHIM, on how Asean members can tap into global efforts to build a trusted cyberspace.

"Attack targets could range from financial to data theft, reputational damage, and also disruption to our critical information infrastructure," Dr Yaacob said.

The new $10 million Asean Cyber Capacity Programme is aimed at building up a credible response to such threats, he added. It will help train technical officers to deal with attacks, and train policymakers and prosecutors to shape members' cyber-security strategies and laws.

Second, Asean members can tap into global efforts to build a trusted cyberspace, like the Interpol Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI) that is based here, Dr Yaacob said.

"We can support the IGCI by seconding more Asean law-enforcement officers to the IGCI. By partnering Interpol, we can conduct more joint operations against cyber criminals and enhance the collective safety and security of Asean."

Singapore will also contribute $900,000 to the CyberGreen global initiative that provides tools for a country to measure its level of cyber health, announced Dr Yaacob.

With this funding, all Asean members can access the CyberGreen platform through Singapore for free and better identify different levels of threats and ways to counter them.

The third area is for Asean states to start a dialogue on cyber norms - a conversation that began globally a decade ago - to develop a regional understanding of such norms and take part in the global effort, he said.

"Cyber capacity-building, cyberspace awareness, and cyber norms: these are three suggestions to Asean for enhancing cyber-security cooperation," said Dr Yaacob.

"Singapore is committed to these ideas, and we are backing our words with resources and investment."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2016, with the headline 'Govt launches $10m fund to help Asean fight cyber threats'. Print Edition | Subscribe