Singapore cyber security capabilities to be enhanced

CSA, Tel Aviv University will work together to increase research and innovation efforts

Singapore is ramping up research and innovation efforts to strengthen its cyber security capabilities, with Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Janil Puthu-cheary announcing an upcoming collaboration between the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) and Israel's Tel Aviv University yesterday.

The joint grant call, which comes under the National Cybersecurity R&D (NCR) programme, is the second with the university.

It will see Singapore's researchers work with their counterparts in challenging areas such as security for smart cities and the Internet of Things (IoT), from later this year.

The grant call is open to all researchers from local institutes of higher learning and research institutes.

The CSA is also taking over the NCR programme from the National Research Foundation from next March, in a move that aims to harness the partner networks that the CSA has built over the years, letting government agencies, industry and academia collaborate more smoothly.

"Even as we tackle the cyber challenges of today, it is important to prepare for the cyber threats of tomorrow," said Dr Janil, who was speaking at a Singapore International Cyber Week round-table session on international IoT security at the Sands Expo & Convention Centre.

Dr Janil also stressed the need to double down on IoT security at a time when there are already 31 billion IoT devices around the world, a number which could increase to 75 billion by 2030.

These devices have become so ubiquitous that many have taken to calling IoT the "Internet of Everything", he said.

"But greater connectivity also brings greater risks. The vast majority of devices - baby monitors, home routers, even our fridges and cars - are optimised for functionality and cost, rather than security.

"This is not just a technical problem, but also about building trust and partnerships."

A voluntary labelling scheme that indicates the cyber security levels of home IoT devices was launched on Wednesday by Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 09, 2020, with the headline Singapore cyber security capabilities to be enhanced. Subscribe