New government agency to oversee Singapore's cybersecurity operations

Slated to begin operations from April 2015, the new agency will have centralized oversight of the country's IT security functions and develop new capabilities in this area.

The Singapore government has established a new agency to oversee the country's cybersecurity operations and take charge of future developments in this area.

Scheduled to be operational from April 1, the Cyber Security Agency (CSA) will come under the purview of the Prime Minister's Office and have centralized oversight of national cybersecurity functions.

It will replace the functions of the Singapore Infocomm Technology Security Authority (SITSA) as well as take over some roles currently undertaken by ICT regulator, Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), such as the Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team. SITSA itself was established in 2009 as a government agency dedicated to beefing up the country's IT security infrastructure and combat cyber terrorism threats.

The CSA will consolidate and further develop the government's cybersecurity capabilities, which will include establishing policies and cybersecurity operation. It will also work with the private sector to bolster the local IT security ecosystem.

The agency will be helmed by Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim who has been appointed Minister-In-Charge of Cyber Security. David Koh, deputy secretary for technology at the Ministry of Defence will be chief executive of the CSA.

According to local media reports, the new agency will employ "hundreds" of technical and policy development staff, most of whom will be transferred from IDA and the Ministry of Home Affairs, which had operated SITSA.

The Singapore government in August said it would beef up its IT security monitoring capabilities and appoint chief information security officers to better deal with the growing number of cyberattacks in the country and across the globe.

Such efforts follow a spate of cyberattacks in the last couple of years that targeted government websites, including that of the Prime Minister's Office by hacktivist group Anonymous, as well as a security breach that affected 1,560 SingPass accounts used to access e-government services.

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