Banks in Singapore must give cyber security high priority: ABS, ministry

ATM machines from UOB, DBS and OCBC Bank, at Changi Airport.
ATM machines from UOB, DBS and OCBC Bank, at Changi Airport.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Industry and government leaders on Thursday (Nov 17) urged financial institutions to step up cybersecurity efforts even as they seek innovation and digitise, at a technology risk conference by the Association of Banks Singapore (ABS) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

ABS chairman Wee Ee Cheong told the audience at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre that the focus is no longer just to defend against cyber threats, "but to respond promptly".

The idea is to use tools such as machine learning and big data analytics to aid in such efforts, "to be agile in responding to cyber threats" and move from being reactive in defence to being proactive.

Mr Aubeck Kam, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communications and Information, said the Government is already working on its cyber security strategy, and hoped this would encourage financial institutions to deepen their own plans.

He noted that even as the industry embraces innovative fintech solutions, it has to give thought to keep security on top of the organisation's agenda, especially when the financial sector plays an important role here.