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Singapore to help strengthen cybersecurity in ASEAN

Nurdianah Md Nur | Oct. 11, 2016
The republic believes that cyber capacity building, cyberspace awareness and cyber norms will enhance cybersecurity in the region.

ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity
ASEAN Ministers congregating at the ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity in Singapore on 11 October 2016.

Credit: Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), Singapore

Singapore has suggested three ways of enhancing cybersecurity cooperation in ASEAN, which supports its new cybersecurity strategy.

Cyber capacity building
The first is fostering ASEAN cyber capacity building, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information - as well as Minister-in-charge of cybersecurity - said at the ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity in Singapore on 11 October 2016.

"Singapore recognises that ASEAN Member States and Dialogue Partners have already been working closely on many initiatives dealing with incident response, confidence building and technical cyber capacity building. For instance, the annual ASEAN CERT Incident Drill (ACID) helps CERTS across ASEAN to test and refine their cooperation and incident handling procedures." 

"To complement these efforts, Singapore is pleased to launch a S$10 million ASEAN Cyber Capacity Programme (ACCP) [which will] help deepen cyber capacities across ASEAN Member States," he added.

To be launched next April, the five-year funding will be used for a series of events and initiatives that will develop technical, policy and strategy-building capabilities within ASEAN Member States. The programme will focus on cyber policy, legislation, strategy development and incident response.

ACCP targets ASEAN policy officials, diplomats, prosecutors, as well as technical operators and analysts.  Trainers for the programme will be selected from the INTERPOL Global Centre for Innovation in Singapore, ASEAN Dialogue Partners, academics from institutes, the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore and other relevant agencies.

"The flexibility of the ACCP funding allows us to channel efforts to where they are most needed and can be most effective," Dr Yaacob said.

Securing a common cyberspace
"Malicious actors deliberately target the gaps between our borders and jurisdictions to exploit and target us. We [thus] need to work together, beyond our borders, to effectively secure this common space. [One way of doing so is to] improve our collective cyber hygiene as [only then] can we better direct our prevention and remediation efforts," Dr Yaacob asserted.

As such, Singapore has sponsored CyberGreen for the next three years. The global initiative aims to create awareness of the potential vulnerabilities and the cyber health status of a country. Besides that, the initiative helps countries be more aware of the cyber risks they pose to others, Yurie Ito, Founder of CyberGreen, said in a media briefing. 

To share the benefits of the initiative, Singapore will provide a portal for other ASEAN Member States to access CyberGreen for free. "This will allow practitioners and policy makers to assess how their countries and ASEAN are progressing as a whole on the cybersecurity front. Cyber incident threat responders can also better identify and remediate different classes of threats, based on actionable threat information provided by CyberGreen," Dr Yaacob said.


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