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Singapore Endeavours To Become a Safe ‘Cyber World’ Nation

Singapore Endeavours To Become a Safe ‘Cyber World’ Nation
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At the world leading information security conference, RSA Conference 2016 held in Singapore recently, the nation’s K Shanmugam, Minister of Home Affairs and Minister for Law shared some of Singapore’s latest endeavors in staying ahead of the pack in making the country a safe place in terms of the cyber world.

NATIONAL CYBERCRIME ACTION PLAN

K Shamugam shared that NCAP is fundamentally Singapore’s way of coordinating a diversity of efforts and resources to fight cybercrime.

“It is both a conceptualisation and to take an approach to really deter, detect and disrupt cybercriminal activity and to create a safe and secure online environment in Singapore, as far as possible. “

The four (4) key principles underlying NCAP are i) Prevention ii) Quick, strong response to cybercrime iii) A robust legal framework and iv) Working with partners/ other parties (in shared responsibilities.

At the same time, there are also four (4) priorities in achieving the NCAP principles. K Shamugam shared in his address speech at the opening of RSA 2016 in Singapore:-

KEY PRIORITY 1: EDUCATING AND EMPOWERING THE PUBLIC TO STAY SAFE IN CYBERSPACE

The first priority has to be to train our people, to be smarter, better in dealing with cyberspace, and empower them to work on the cyberspace. The Singapore Police Force will go on a mass education campaign in schools. They will use the media, including social media, as well as existing platforms. We will also reach out through our Neighbourhood Police Centres. In 2015, we conducted more than 80 roadshows across the island using our Crime Prevention Ambassadors and that will continue, with a special focus on the groups which are more vulnerable – senior citizens and the younger people. They will work with NGOs and schools to raise awareness. Our National Crime Prevention Council will be launching a new app, called the ‘Cyro’ game app for children later this year. We have an existing Scam alert website and we will also be transforming it into a one-stop self-help portal.

KEY PRIORITY 2: ENHANCING THE GOVERNMENT’S CAPACITY AND CAPABILITY TO COMBAT CYBERCRIME

Second, our agencies must be upgraded. Every government is looking at this to meet the challenges and deal with them. Late last year, a new Cybercrime Command was established and that Command brings together capabilities of the enforcement agencies, particularly the Police, in forensics, intelligence and crime prevention. The formation of the Command will help improve the coordination, teamwork and response.

The Command will analyse new methods being used by cybercriminals. They will get information, analyse them and that will then allow them to shape crime prevention messages. They will then disseminate it to the public.

This Command will also oversee the Cybercrime Response Teams (CRTs). The CRTs will be in every Police Land Division and they will have a level of proficiency and expertise in investigations and digital forensics.

The Police have developed new tools, for example, which will allow them, through a process of automation, the ability to process a huge amount of data, without somebody having to go through it. So it is automated and that then reduces the processing time for digital evidence and frees up the investigation officers to do other kinds of work.

We have also set up in 2014, the Cyber Security Lab (CSL), which is a modern hands-on training laboratory. CSL will expand its curriculum to cover a variety of topics like cyber security fundamentals, digital forensics and malware analysis and equip our officers with the necessary skills.

KEY PRIORITY 3: STRENGTHENING LEGISLATION AND THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE FRAMEWORK

The third priority is legislation. We are relooking our legislation. In the past, crime was often territorial and geographical. You look at it and deal with it. Today, it is across borders and we have to update our laws to make sure that it remains relevant and redefine what crime is, if necessary, to deal with the transnational nature of crimes and the new and evolving tactics of criminals. So what happens in the real world will have to be replicated in the virtual world and we have to develop the tools to make sure they are updated for that.

KEY PRIORITY 4: LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS

Finally, the fourth priority is partnerships. This cannot be done by the government or the government agencies or the Police alone. Partnership with the industry, working with the industry is essential and critical. The private sector, both local and overseas, plays a critical role in our fight against cybercrime. The best expertise in technology does not often reside in the government. It often resides in the private sector and Institutes of Higher Learning, with industry.

For example, we are working with the industry to develop customised malware analysis tools. We are also working with our Institutes of Higher Learning like Temasek Polytechnic, for example, to develop a new lab [Temasek Advanced Learning, Nurturing and Testing Laboratory (TALENT Lab)] which will allow students to test their innovations against the latest cyber threats that have been identified. This will be operational by next year.

Our partnerships will also transcend national boundaries. We are committed to fight cybercrime across the globe. Last year we had a spate of credit-for-sex scams committed by syndicates operating in China. Our Police worked with Chinese law enforcement counterparts, simultaneous raids were conducted and 43 syndicate members were arrested.

The Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs has established a new Institute of Safety and Security Studies (ISSS) – that will promote thought leadership and seek to build expertise in different areas, including Cybercrime.

Meanwhile the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI) is located in Singapore – that brings together law enforcement officers from around the world, and industry partners like NEC, Kaspersky, Trend Micro and Microsoft. Through IGCI, INTERPOL has conducted several successful global operations and that will continue.

“Ultimately, the NCAP is a recognition of a change that cybercrime will bring about in our society and a fundamental relook at our approaches, our laws, our outreach efforts, the way we train and equip our Police officers, and the way our agencies work with partners both within and outside of Singapore. “

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