Committee of Supply debate

New cyber-security Bill to be tabled in Parliament next year

A man types on a laptop computer in an arranged photograph taken in Illinois, on Jan 8, 2015.
A man types on a laptop computer in an arranged photograph taken in Illinois, on Jan 8, 2015.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

It will ensure operators of key infrastructure take active steps to secure systems: Yaacob

A new cyber-security Bill that aims to strengthen laws against online crime will be tabled in Parliament next year.

Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim told Parliament that the proposed law will ensure that operators of Singapore's critical information infrastructure take active steps to secure such systems and report incidents.

It will also empower the Cyber Security Agency (CSA) to manage cyber incidents and raise the standards of cyber-security providers here, he said during the debate on his ministry's budget.

The Bill comes amid growing concern globally that cyber attacks could bring down critical systems.

Dr Yaacob, who is also Minister- in-charge of Cyber Security, noted that while the existing Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act grants law enforcement agencies powers to investigate and apprehend those behind cyber crime, the nature of such crime has evolved.

The interconnectivity of such networks also means that the effects of cyber attacks can be "contagious", he added.

ATTACKS HERE INEVITABLE

Cyber attacks have increased in sophistication and attackers have become faster and bolder. It is inevitable that Singapore's critical information infrastructure will at some point be targets.

DR YAACOB IBRAHIM, Minister for Communications and Information.

"Cyber attacks have increased in sophistication and attackers have become faster and bolder.

"It is inevitable that Singapore's critical information infrastructure will at some point be targets."

Dr Yaacob noted that to better tackle such threats, many countries have recently been strengthening their cyber-security legislation.

Last year, Germany passed a new law to raise cyber-security standards and mandate reporting of significant cyber-security incidents, and the United States approved an Act to facilitate the sharing of information on cyberthreats.

Dr Yaacob said the Government will start work on developing the new Bill, and the CSA will consult stakeholders on the scope of the new law.

"We are stepping up our efforts to enhance our cyber security and also the resilience of our infrastructure," he said.

"This is the necessary foundation for a successful digital economy."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2016, with the headline 'New cyber-security Bill to be tabled in Parliament next year'. Print Edition | Subscribe