Singapore Strengthens Its Cyber Security Armour

How Does Cyber Security Armour Help Singaporean Citizens and Businessmen

Singapore Strengthens Its Cyber Security ArmourToday on 19 September 2017, Singapore’s Acting Prime Minister announced the establishment of a new cybersecurity institute and Industrial Control Systems (ICS) community under the Cyber Security Agency (CSA). This is the follow-up to yesterday’s announcement upon Singapore’s had deepening collaboration with 10 ASEAN countries. Such cyber security armour can be the new hope of Singaporeans against malicious attacks.

This flurry of the new initiative comes about as Singapore embraces the smart nation initiative. The increasingly digitalized world also increased cybercrimes. Thus, cybersecurity becomes the key competency everyone must master to project confidence to investors. There have been notable and increasing attacks in the past few months. We have seen how the Singaporean government had responded with a firm hand.

In the legislation front, the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act was amended in April 2017. This makes it a criminal offence to hack into a computer even both locally and overseas.


Worldwide Lack of Cyber Specialists

Cybersecurity is a relatively new discipline. Therefore, the Prime Minister has established the Cyber Security Agency on 01 April 2015. Meanwhile, its predecessor had existed in 2009. From this, we can infer that just 8 years ago, cyber security was not a national concern. However, it surfaced to prominence just 2 years back.

As the need for cybersecurity specialist exploded, there was a limited number of qualified specialists. They can fill the roles and this shortage is not limited to Singapore only. The global IT governance organization, ISACA, found out that this is a global problem in its recent survey of industry professionals.

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Information Security Positions

Source: ISACA


Finding Suitable Candidates

ISACA found that over a quarter of respondents can’t find the suitable candidates to fill in cybersecurity position in their organization. Even within the 59% of companies which could find the suitable candidates took a long time to find them.

Information Security Positions Filling Vacancies

Source: ISACA


The majority of the companies took more than 3 months to find suitable candidates. Further, these responses are coming from established companies around the world. For every open position, there are 5 applicants. Unfortunately, only half of them are eligible for an interview. The situation is most severe in Europe where 30% of positions are unfilled, followed by 26% in North America and 22% in Asia.

It’s no longer a secret that there’s an increasing rate of cybersecurity attacks. Singapore would need to have better-trained cybersecurity specialists. The current CSA institute complements the existing array of courses from the National University of Singapore, ST Electronics’ COMAT, Singapore Polytechnic, Skillsfuture, IMDA’s List of Approved Vendors and part-time diplomas from international institutes such as Stanford University and Harvard University.


Motivations of Cyber Attackers

There are always two sides of the coin. For any cybersecurity strategy to be effective, it must understand the motivations behind the cyber attackers. The attacks might be hard to detect and prevent in some instances. However, the end game of the attack is always clear for the victim.

After surveying the victims of such attacks, ISACA had the following findings. Normally, the attackers would have multiple objectives after spending detailed efforts to penetrate your systems. Hospitals are the prime target for malware specialist to launch ransomware attacks. Hospitals in the US and UK were reportedly made to pay in Bitcoins to unlock their computer systems. Hackers stole personal information to claim insurance and redirected emergency patients midway. You can count at least 3 motivations for attackers now.

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Hospitals have experienced four times as many attacks this year compared to the previous year. This is because it is a life and death experience to lose access to critical information. They hold the holy trinity of the name, social security number and date of birth for identity theft.

Attack Motivation

Source: ISACA


Multinational Victims

Global respondents found out that financial gains and disruption of services are the two prime reasons behind the attacks. In the famous Dyn Denial of Service attack in October 2016, a wide range of multinationals from Airbnb to Playstation have been victims. If your Starhub internet service has encountered disruptions twice in October, you would have shared the anger of these Singaporeans.

Courier TNT has also experienced ransomware attacks. This includes Petya, where the attackers demanded $300 in June 2017. It affected their operations and it will cause them $800 million over 4 years due to loss of revenue, customer claims and security measures to prevent future attacks. In May 2017, Singapore based malls such as White Sands and Tiong Bahru Mall and retailers were hit by the WannaCry ransomware for Bitcoin payment.


Prevention is Better than Cure

Such attacks may increase over the next few years as cybercriminals get more attack surface in an increasingly digital world. Cybercrime as a service is a reality today where a malicious actor doesn’t even need to know to code. They just need to pay someone to send the attacks.

Top 10 Cyber Security Service Provider in Singapore

Source: Enterprise Security Magazine


Cyber-attacks place a real burden on businesses as evident in the TNT case. Sadly, employees have to shoulder much of the load. Fortunately, IT Solution Systems has a comprehensive suite of firewall solutions to lessen to load of companies. In addition, it is the only Singaporean company in top 10 of Enterprise Magazine list with the likes of McAfee and Checkpoint. You can also depend on our other services.

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