Singapore to draw up formal Asean mechanism for cyber security

Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran (centre) at the Asean Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity, on Sept 19.
Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran (centre) at the Asean Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity, on Sept 19.PHOTO: MCI

SINGAPORE - Singapore will draw up a formal Asean cyber security mechanism to discuss cyber diplomacy, policy and operational issues, in a bid to shore up defences against online attacks that target the region.

This was agreed on by ministers at the third Asean Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity (AMCC) on Wednesday (Sept 19), said the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) .

Its decision follows through on the directions Asean leaders had given at the 32nd Asean Summit in April, to better coordinate regional cyber security efforts, the CSA added in its statement.

While this mechanism is being considered, CSA said AMCC should continue to serve as the interim Asean platform for regional cyber security discussions.

Communications and Information Minister S Iswaran, who chaired the AMCC, said Singapore is committed to lead efforts to deepen Asean's cyber capabilities and strengthen the region's ability to respond to emerging global cyber threats.

Asean will work towards a rules-based international framework on cyber security, added Mr Iswaran, who is also Minister-in-charge of Cyber Security.

He said all the 10 Asean states agreed this rules-based approach would give the region confidence to better deal with cyber threats.

Recognising that a rules-based cyberspace would allow for economic progress and better living standards, the AMCC also agreed to subscribe in-principle to 11 voluntary norms recommended in the 2015 Report of the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security (UNGGE).

"Singapore and all the Asean Member States subscribed to the fact that we need a rules-based cyber security environment, in order to foster confidence and build relationships that can engender mutual trust and effectively deal with challenges," he added.

Asean ministers and senior officials who attended the AMCC called on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana on Wednesday (Sept 19).

The issues they discussed included ways to enhance Asean regional cooperation on cyber policy coordination, development of norms of behaviour and capacity building.