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Irene Tham
Friday, Aug 29, 2014

Singapore

S’pore beefing up govt agencies’ cyber defence

The Straits Times | Irene Tham | Friday, Aug 29, 2014

Singapore's Cyber-Watch Centre is beefing up its detection capabilities to counter increasing threats to government systems.

By January next year, the centre will be able to track unauthorised changes to websites and spot malicious files and potential data leaks in networks.

"This upgrade will allow us to better monitor government websites and inspect if there are malicious activities which could affect access to online public services," said Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim at yesterday's Infocomm Security Seminar, organised by the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) and held at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre.

The Cyber-Watch Centre, managed by Singapore-based security services provider e-Cop, was set up in 2007 to monitor critical public-sector IT installations.

The new upgrade comes after attempts last November to bring down government websites, and the defacement of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and Istana webpages.

The heightened security measures also include appointing chief information security officers to government agencies in the coming year, while a Monitoring and Operations Control Centre will be set up by the end of this year.

Details were not available, but the IDA said that it will run the centre, whose main function is to coordinate government agencies' responses to cyber attacks.

Work is also under way to provide specialised training in several tertiary institutions to plug the shortfall of cybersecurity experts.

The Singapore Institute of Technology will launch the country's first undergraduate information security degree programme in September next year. The four-year course with work attachments at security firms has 50 vacancies for the first batch of students.

New diploma courses in digital forensics will also be launched next year by Temasek Polytechnic and Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

"We need to grow Singapore's pool of infocomm security experts and build their capabilities," said Dr Yaacob.

He noted that the biggest growth in manpower needs will be in the area of security operations and engineering. Singapore had 1,200 IT security specialists in 2012, fewer than the 1,500 from a year earlier.

As a result, vacancies grew to 300 in 2012 compared with just 90 in 2011.

National University of Singapore (NUS) information systems student Eugene Lek, 25, is excited about the job prospects in the industry, but hopes more opportunities will be given to NUS students to allow them to home in on specific areas such as vulnerability testing and malware analysis.

"I feel ill-prepared to join the workforce as my area of study is too general," said Mr Lek, who is in his fourth year of studies.

itham@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on August 27, 2014.
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