Safeguarding Digital Sphere in Singapore
Businesses can now stay safe online with the Safer Cyberspace Master Plan 2020, which utilizes Artificial Intelligence towards safeguarding Singapore’s digital sphere.
Singapore recently revealed the Safer Cyberspace Master Plan 2020, at the partially virtual opening of the Fifth Annual Singapore International Cyber Week. It was unveiled by Deputy Prime Minister Mr Heng Swee Keat, who is also Minister for Finance. The Master Plan, which is coordinated by the Cyber Security Agency (CSA) of Singapore, will play an essential role in safeguarding Singapore’s digital sphere.
Mr Heng stated that the global pandemic has contributed to the rapid onset of digitalization. He highlighted online activities such as payments, shopping, telecommuting, e-learning and video calls. This, in turn, has given rise to a growing number of cyber threats. Mr Heng urged a collective spirit of collaboration to secure Singapore’s cyberspace. He stressed the need for individuals, businesses and the cybersecurity industry to step up to the challenge collectively. He also observed that the Government had done its part by coming up with the Master Plan 2020.
The Master Plan is a primary component in Singapore’s bid to be a global leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Smart Nation. The more significant usage of AI technologies falls under the national IA plan, launched in November 2019. It forms one of the nine key initiatives in Singapore’s cybersecurity defence plan.
It delineates a framework that utilizes AI technologies to identify security threats in cyberspace. According to the Singapore Cyber Landscape Report 2019, which was released by the CSA in June, more than 9,400 cybercrime cases were reported last year. This amounts to more than a 50% increase from the 6,200 cases reported in 2018.
Initially mentioned in Parliament in March, the Master Plan builds on Singapore’s 2016 cybersecurity blueprint. The blueprint enabled the roll-out of the public sector’s Internet surfing separation. The Master Plan 2020 goes a step further with the utilization of AI technologies. This will allow it to seamlessly safeguard a digital infrastructure which encompasses 5G networks, broadband, Wi-Fi routers, webcams, etc.
The Master Plan utilizes a CSA-run Internet Cyber Hygiene Portal. The Portal provides self-help guides and toolkits to Singaporean businesses for free cyber-health screenings to ensure their web activities are safe. Firms can check for weaknesses in their online footprint, which includes connectivity, web domains, emails, etc.
AI technologies will also be enabling two other platforms against more sophisticated cybersecurity threats. The Cyber Fusion Platform acts as an early warning system. It is capable of almost instantaneously analyzing voluminous online data and will alert the CSA of malicious threats and attacks.
The Internet of Things (IoT) Threat Analytics Platform handles large scale IoT attacks and threats. It is capable of analyzing, detecting and predicting impending or potential attacks. This will enable all relevant government agencies and departments to employ defensive and pre-emptive tactics. The platform is designed to complement IoT labelling, which is currently being rolled out. The label allows consumers of smart devices to judge the range of their exposure to cybersecurity risks. Amongst other criteria, it can indicate whether the manufacturers ensure that default passwords are not employed. The label can be easily affixed to smart home hubs or routers.
Mr Heng commented that this is a great way to encourage collaborations with other countries and that tech companies owe a ‘cyber duty of care’ to their clients. He stated that the security standards of global IoT devices could be collectively advanced by creating mutual recognition for cybersecurity labelling. Mr Heng also encouraged a strong bounce back from Covid-19 with cooperation between businesses, countries and people.
The CSA stated that the Portal, along with the two platforms, will be launched as early as next year.