Singapore gov't plans cyber-terrorism agency

The island state's new body will combat national IT security threats by adopting a proactive approach to anticipate impending threats

The Singapore government has announced plans for a new agency dedicated to look at IT security and combat cyber-terrorism threats.

Law Minister K Shanmugam said the new government body will be the country's "specialist authority" dealing with threats to national security and, in particular, external threats such as cyber-terrorism and cyber-espionage.

Speaking at an IT security conference on Wednesday, Shanmugam said recent online attacks targeting government and private sites in South Korea and the US underscores the need to be vigilant. Singapore, Shanmugam said, needs to adopt a more proactive approach and be able to anticipate impending threats.

The new agency, Singapore Infocomm Technology Security Authority (Sitsa), has been tasked to look at beefing-up the country's IT security infrastructure, specifically in sectors such as energy, water, banking and finance, and transport.

Operating under Singapore's Internal Security Department, the new agency is also responsible for the island state's readiness to cope with large-scale cyberattacks and the potential network disruption that may follow.

Shanmugam said: "Sitsa will develop a framework to provide a comprehensive incident reporting, response and escalation process to handle national-level emergencies resulting from large-scale cyberattacks."

He added that the government agency will work alongside IT security professionals from the private sector, which would be critical to battle increasing cooperation between cybercriminals that have created more uncertainties and difficulties for cyberdefenders. The minister pointed to the creators of the Conficker botnet and Waledac malware as an example of collaboration between cybercriminals.


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