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The State of Cybersecurity in Singapore 2017

Richard Pain | April 28, 2017
As Singapore presses on with it's Smart Nation initiative, we take a look what the city state is doing to enhance cybersecurity.

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As Singapore presses forward with its Smart Nation initiative, increasing effort and attention has been put into cybersecurity and its importance in facilitating the country’s digital economy. 

Whilst cybersecurity is a global issue affecting all countries, in Singapore’s case, there have been a remarkable number of new initiatives, partnerships laws and organisations that have been launched to support the country’s aims.

To better understand what’s going on with cybersecurity in Singapore, in this article we will examine the level of cyber-threat facing Singapore and many of the latest developments the country is taking to better protect itself.

 

Notable Cyber-attacks

There have been a variety of notable reported cyber-incidents affecting organisations and individuals in Singapore. Some of these include:

 

  • In early February 2017 a targeted attack against the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) internet access system resulted in the theft of the personal data of about 850 national servicemen and Mindef employees.
  • In October 2016, two cyber-attacks disrupted local telco provider, Starhub’s broadband service, leaving customers unable to access the internet on two occasions for about two hours each. This was caused by a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against Starhub’s Domain Name System (DNS).
  • In March 2016, a Singaporean man was sentenced for having cracked the passwords of 293 SingPass accounts, the account that all citizens and residents use to access government services. The man was sentenced to five years and two months in jail. Since the attacks took place, Singapore has now implemented two factor authentication meaning that this type of attack is no longer possible.

 

Whilst each of these incidents is interesting in its own right, it’s worth noting that individual incidents like these are not representative of the country’s level of cybersecurity, so let’s take a step back and take a broader view. 

 

Cybersecurity Ecosystem

 

How Vulnerable is Singapore?

There is a lack of comprehensive data on cyber-attacks not just in Singapore but worldwide, meaning that any assessment that compares the number of cyber-attacks or their impact between countries needs to be considered a best-estimate based on available information rather than hard fact. Despite this, several organisations have tried to create a measure of the most prepared and most vulnerable countries.

 

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