S'pore can be model for cyber security

Singapore has a chance to lead by example in its push to get cyber security right, said a visiting former cyber security official from the United States.

As a country aspiring to be a smart nation, Singapore can demonstrate how to build a resilient national critical information infrastructure needed to leverage technology and data, said Mr Sean Kanuck, formerly the most senior cyber security official at the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

"Countries around the world, and especially in your neighbourhood, will be looking at the Singapore model, and, hopefully when it's successful, copying parts of it," said Mr Kanuck, who is now a lawyer.

He noted that a comprehensive national cyber security strategy launched last month by Singapore outlines its long-term approach to securing its cyberspace and critical infrastructure against attacks.

At the same time, the strategy also looks into nurturing a home- grown infocomm technology (ICT) sector capable of generating its own valuable intellectual property.

Mr Kanuck said Singapore needs to be more engaged in international discussions on cyber issues if it aims to shape such norms.

He called Singapore's Cyber Security Agency a "great step forward" as it focuses government expertise in thinking about long-term cyber- related issues.

But even as the agency gets to work translating the national strategy into actionable goals - such as boosting talent to fill an estimated 30,000 new ICT jobs that will be created here by 2020 - it needs to stay alert.

"It has to be dynamic and adaptive because the threats it is dealing with are also very dynamic and adaptive," he said.

To stay abreast of innovation in the technology sector, the government has to keep up an active discussion with private sector technology companies, he said.

Lim Yan Liang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 05, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore can be model for cyber security'. Print Edition | Subscribe