Building the foundation for a strong and stable digital economy
Going digital is now an imperative for businesses across all sectors. However, our reliance on digital technologies also makes businesses vulnerable to new forms of threats such as cyber attacks.
Our success in the digital economy hinges on the ability to create and maintain a secure cyberspace for all to transact in. A safe cyberspace is the collective responsibility of the Government, businesses, individuals, and the community.
While Singapore was ranked first in the Asia-Pacific region for cybersecurity readiness in Deloitte’s Cyber Smart Index 2020, we continue to make concerted efforts to build a resilient and trusted cyber environment for businesses and communities. Through our participation in the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts and Open-ended Working Group, Singapore continues to advocate a rules-based international order for cyberspace.
Read more: Business Environment
Enhancing the cybersecurity of our digital space
With strengthened cybersecurity efforts to improve the security of our digital infrastructure, businesses and individuals can operate with greater peace of mind in the digital space. Efforts include working closely with our 11 Critical Information Infrastructure
(CII) sectors that provide essential services such as transport, energy, and water:
- Following the SingHealth cyber attack in 2018, the Cyber Security Agency (CSA) has worked with the 11 sector leads to implement measures such as conducting enhanced security checks, having privileged administrator accounts for tighter control, and enhancing incident response plans. As at March 2020, over half of the sectors completed their implementation of measures.
- An Operational Technology Information Sharing and Analysis Centre (OT-ISAC) was established in 2019 through a partnership with the Global Resilience Federation Asia Pacific. The OT-ISAC further enhances our CIIs’ cybersecurity by facilitating the secure exchange of information on vulnerabilities and threat intelligence. As at June 2020, around 30 major companies from a wide range of industries have joined the OT-ISAC, with each of them having benefitted in terms of enhanced cybersecurity for their systems.
Helping businesses secure their digital spaces
E-commerce is the fastest growing segment in our digital economy with a robust compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20% from 2016 to 2018. Unfortunately, e-commerce scams were also the most common type of scam in Singapore in 2019, responsible for a
loss of $2.3 million. Through the Alliance of Public-Private Cybercrime Stakeholders platform, comprising digital industry players such as Facebook, Carousell, and Lazada, several measures have been implemented to improve information sharing and to
ensure a safe environment for businesses and their customers to transact digitally. For example:
- After detecting an impersonation scam on one of its customers in December 2019, DBS leveraged the platform to contact the payment processing company involved. This allowed both entities to introduce immediate mitigating measures, including the broadcasting of warning messages, which prevented other customers from falling prey to the scam.
Read more: External and Homeland Security
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can also access funding support to implement cybersecurity measures through the Productivity Solutions Grant under the SMEs Go Digital programme, while SMEs new to using digital technology can sign up for basic and easy-to-deploy cybersecurity solutions through Start Digital Partners.
Read more: Economic Opportunities
Boosting our cybersecurity ecosystem
Singapore has the ambition to be a Global-Asia cybersecurity hub. In 2018, our cybersecurity services market was $1.08 billion with a CAGR of 9.3% from 2015 to 2020. Our strong cybersecurity ecosystem, with about 60 of the top 100 cybersecurity companies
present in Singapore, provides a sustainable source of expertise and solutions to support our Smart Nation and Digital Government ambition, as well as good economic opportunities for our companies and workforce. As the demand for cybersecurity expertise
is expected to grow, we have been working to increase the capacity, diversity, and deep technical skills of our cybersecurity professionals (CSPs):
- While the cybersecurity workforce had increased by 2.5 times since 2014, the Infocomm Media Development Authority’s Infocomm Media Manpower Survey 2019 identified a need for an additional 600 to 700 CSPs. Various programmes have been introduced
to help fill this gap:
- The Cyber Security Associates and Technologists Programme provides on-the-job training to fresh ICT professionals and mid-career professionals interested in a career in cybersecurity.
- The Youth Cybersecurity Exploration Programme engaged 700 secondary school students on a future career in cybersecurity. Students who demonstrated interest and potential were introduced to industry mentors for career guidance and support.
- To date, around 200 CSPs have also participated in intermediate and advanced training courses with the CSA Academy.
- The Innovation Cybersecurity Ecosystem at Block71 (ICE71) is the region’s first cybersecurity entrepreneur hub. To date, it has supported more than 50 start-ups which have raised over $18 million in funding. ICE71’s entrepreneurship programmes, including ICE71 Inspire, Accelerate, and Scale, help participants kick-start their entrepreneurial journey by turning innovative cybersecurity ideas into business solutions. Supported entrepreneurs gained access to talent, mentors, and funding, as well as complimentary working spaces, testing facilities, and corporate support services.
- The Cybersecurity Innovation and Growth Programme helps participating end users, such as CII owners, identify cybersecurity challenges and supports the development of proof-of-concept projects to meet these challenges. From 2018 to 2019, there were 24 challenge statements issued and over 150 proposals received. Though in its early stages, the programme has received positive feedback from end users, who commented that the solutions were able to detect previously undiscovered vulnerabilities in their systems. In particular, one developed solution was “two years ahead of current market offerings”.
We will continue to work collaboratively with the cybersecurity industry, businesses, and individuals to secure our cyberspace. A new Safer Cyberspace Masterplan has been launched in October 2020 to raise the national cybersecurity posture. Both businesses and individuals can look forward to operating with greater peace of mind in the digital economy and way of life.