Singapore sets up IT security body

Country establishes new government agency, under the Internal Security Department, to combat cyber terrorism and espionage threats.

SINGAPORE--The 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, in particular, external threats such as cyber terrorism and cyber-espionage.

Speaking at an IT security conference here Wednesday, he said recent online attacks targeting government and private sites in South Korea and the United States 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, called 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.

Operated under the purview of Singapore's Internal Security Department, the new agency is also responsible for the island-state's readiness to cope with large-scale cyber attacks and 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 cyber attacks."

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