New Cyber Security Agency to be set up in April, Yaacob Ibrahim to be minister in charge of cyber security

From April, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim will be the minister in charge of cyber security. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
From April, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim will be the minister in charge of cyber security. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE – A high-level central agency will be set up to coordinate public- and private-sector efforts to protect national systems such as those in the energy and banking sectors from increasing cyber threats.

The new Cyber Security Agency (CSA), which operates from April, will be formed under and funded by the Prime Minister's Office.

It will bring under one roof the oversight of 10 critical sectors including power, transport and telecommunications.

From April, Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim will also be the minister in charge of cyber security.

To be helmed by Mr David Koh, 50, deputy secretary of technology at the Ministry of Defence, the new agency will plug current cyber defence gaps, such as breaches involving obscure companies that could potentially compromise the security of citizen data, given that computer systems are more connected today.

The incoming chief executive of CSA will retain his current position at the Ministry of Defence.

For starters, the new agency will have 60 dedicated technical and policy development staff, with most to be transferred from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA).

For instance, MHA's Singapore Infocomm Technology Security Authority will be subsumed under the new agency. The Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team, a unit of the IDA, will also fall under the new body.

CSA will work with existing security setups by IDA - such as the Cyber-Watch Centre and the Monitoring and Operations Control Centre (MOCC) - to coordinate incident management at the national level.

The watch centre, set up in 2007 to monitor critical public-sector IT installations, is managed by Singapore-based security services provider e-Cop. MOCC was set up late last year to monitor telco and government networks round the clock, and coordinate government agencies' responses to cyber attacks.

itham@sph.com.sg