National exercise tests Singapore’s cyber attack resilience

BY Fraser Tennant

Against a backdrop of increasingly frequent, sophisticated and impactful cyber attacks, the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) has carried out a large multi-sector exercise to test the robustness of the country’s cyber incident management and emergency response plans.

Code-named Cyber Star, the exercise tested 11 critical information infrastructure sectors (CII): government, infocomm, energy, aviation, maritime, land transport, healthcare, banking and finance, water, security and emergency and media.

Comprising of a series of scenario planning sessions, workshops and table-top discussions, exercise participants were tested on their incident management and remediation plans in response to simulated cyber security incidents, such as a malware infection or a large-scale distributed denial of services (DDoS) attack.

The Cyber Star exercise followed a similar exercise in May 2016 which covered the banking and finance, government, energy and infocomm sectors.

"This is a good opportunity for us to level-up our capability and make sure that we are ready as possible," said deputy prime minister Teo Chee Hean, who observed the exercise at CSA headquarters alongside more than 200 sector leaders and owners, including the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Energy Market Authority and Singapore Airlines.

“With greater interconnectivity and proliferation of cyber threats, the ability of our critical sectors to respond promptly to attacks is vital,” said David Koh, chief executive of the CSA.

The exercise this week also coincides with a public consultation on a proposed Cybersecurity Bill, which was launched last week by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) and the CSA. The proposed Bill seeks to establish a framework for the oversight and maintenance of national cyber security in Singapore and will empower CSA to carry out its functions. The Bill also aims to minimise cyber threats and ensure that the country can better deal with cyber attacks in future.

The Bill has four main objectives: (i) to provide a framework for the regulation of CII owners; (ii) to provide the CSA with powers to manage and respond to cyber security threats and incidents; (iii) to establish a framework for the sharing of cyber security information with and by CSA officers, and the protection of such information; and (iv) to introduce a lighter-touch licensing framework for the regulation of selected cyber security service providers.

The Cybersecurity Bill consultation runs from 10 July to 3 August 2017.

News: Singapore’s 11 critical sectors tested for first time in national cyber security exercise

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