8 individuals, organisations lauded at annual cyber-security awards ceremony

Minister Josephine Teo, Association of Information Security Professionals Johnny Kho (left) and Cyber Security Agency deputy chief executive Gaurav Keerthi (right) with the award winners. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION

SINGAPORE - For the past five years, Mr Hoi Wai Khin has actively volunteered at associations such as the Institute of Internal Auditors and the Personal Data Protection Commission.

As part of his volunteering experience, the 52-year-old – a partner in technology consulting at professional services firm RSM Singapore – has given talks to more than 1,000 people, including students from tertiary institutions, business owners and working professionals.

His talks cover topics such as cyber security, the IT industry and protection against scams.

An IT industry veteran of more than 20 years, Mr Hoi was among eight individuals and organisations recognised for their outstanding contributions to the cyber-security ecosystem in Singapore and the region in 2022 at The Cybersecurity Awards (TCA).

The winners of the fifth edition of TCA – chosen from 26 nominees, including cyber-security professionals and companies – received their prizes at a ceremony at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre on Friday.

The event was organised by the Association of Information Security Professionals.

Mr Hoi recalled one incident where he felt he had made an impact on someone’s life with his volunteerism.

A client had received an e-mail promising a free carton of beer in exchange for filling out a survey form in an accompanying link.

Mr Hoi’s client – who had attended one of his cyber-security talks – shared the link with his friends, but later suspected that it was a scam when the survey prompted him for his personal banking details.

The client then asked Mr Hoi to confirm his suspicion before alerting his friends.

Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Smart Nation and Cybersecurity Josephine Teo, who was guest of honour at the awards event, said: “This year’s Cybersecurity Awards include a good mix of winners – from individuals to organisations, from students to the most respected leaders of the profession. This reflects the diversity of our community.

“Each of us deals with different cyber-security challenges in our respective roles. And each of us also recognises it is only through working together as a team – across industry, academia and government – that we can more effectively combat cyber threats.”

She said there is a need for more manpower in the growing industry even as the number of cyber-security professionals has more than doubled from 4,000 in 2016 to about 11,000 today.

Mr Hoi said: “Don’t lose the passion and the love for what you do. I hope that everyone volunteers and contributes back to the ecosystem.”

Another winner, Ms Soffenny Yap, a cyber-security sales lead at technology company IBM, also volunteers at various cyber-security associations.

She said: “Whenever I give talks to young people, I remind myself to keep it short and sweet, so that it is easier for them to understand and gain interest.” 

The 34-year-old, who holds talks regularly at tertiary institutions, began her volunteering journey seven years ago.

Initially afraid of speaking in front of large audiences, she has since overcome stage fright with support from her mentors and veterans in the industry.

She added: “I have gained so much knowledge and received advice from my mentors and the associations I have collaborated with. (Cyber security) is an industry I hope young people find an interest in.”

Award winners:

Student category:
Sng Jay Kai, Singapore Polytechnic

Professional category:
Ms Soffenny Yap (Professional Award)
Mr Hoi Wai Khin (Leader Award)
Mr Stanislav Protassov (Leader Award), Acronis Asia
Professor Lam Kwok Yan (Hall of Fame Award), associate vice-president, Nanyang Technological University

Enterprise category:
Toffs Technologies (SME Vendor)
Nanyang Technological University (MNC End User)
Ensign InfoSecurity (MNC Vendor)

Correction note: This article has been edited to reflect the correct name of Professor Lam Kwok Yan.

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