Nationwide exercise tests complex cyber-attack scenarios

Mr S. Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Cyber Security, and Mr Teo Chee Hean, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, were among several people who observed Exercise Cyber Star at
Mr S. Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Cyber Security, and Mr Teo Chee Hean, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, were among several people who observed Exercise Cyber Star at the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore in Maxwell Road yesterday.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Effort to boost S'pore's readiness involves all 11 designated critical info infrastructure areas

A widespread compromise of industrial control systems in critical service sectors here was among several complex scenarios tested for the first time in a nationwide cyber-security exercise.

In its third run, Exercise Cyber Star's more than 250 participants - from the public and private sectors - scrambled to isolate the cyber attack and restore the operations of critical services, including healthcare, land transport and energy.

Led by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), Exercise Cyber Star is a whole-of-government effort to test Singapore's cyber-incident management and emergency response plans.

CSA chief executive David Koh said that last year's well-planned cyber attack on SingHealth has shown that Singapore is not immune to cyber risks.

"The need for our critical sectors to strengthen their cyber-security readiness and response to cyber threats is pressing.

"These exercises help to enhance incident response processes and communication across sectors, and boost public-and private-sector cooperation, so that we can respond effectively in the event of a cyber attack," he added.

Some of the other scenarios tested include disruptions in Internet connectivity and communications network, as well as simulations of multi-dimensional cyber threats such as domain name system manipulation and phishing.

All 11 designated critical information infrastructure sectors were involved. They are: government, infocomm, energy, aviation, maritime, land transport, healthcare, banking and finance, water, security and emergency, and media.

PREPARATION IS KEY

We must be prepared to prevent, defend, and also respond to the consequences of cyber attacks.

SENIOR MINISTER AND COORDINATING MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY TEO CHEE HEAN

 

Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean, who observed the exercise, said that as Singapore has experienced cyber attacks before, the country must expect that it will continue to be exposed to them.

"So we must be prepared to prevent, defend, and also respond to the consequences of cyber attacks," he added.

Mr Teo was accompanied by Mr S. Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Cyber Security, and Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information and Senior Minister of State in-charge of Cyber Security.

Mr Iswaran said: "Here, we are bringing the different sectors together to see how we can further strengthen our cyber security at the systemic level."

The attack on the database of public healthcare cluster SingHealth in June last year was Singapore's worst cyber attack.

Hackers stole the personal data of 1.5 million patients and the outpatient prescription information of 160,000 people, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 05, 2019, with the headline 'Nationwide exercise tests complex cyber-attack scenarios'. Print Edition | Subscribe