S'pore calls for 'new approaches' in cybersecurity

[UPDATE] Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean urges for the blending of theoretical and practical strategies such as anticipating threats and multi-nation collaboration to deal with new threats to national security.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor
As cyberattacks pose a new dimension to national security, Singapore's deputy prime minister Teo Chee Hean calls for new approaches in tackling them.

SINGAPORE--Cybercrimes have changed the dimensions of time, distance, and complexity when it comes to national security so countries need to blend theoretical approaches and practical strategies.

According to Singapore's deputy prime minister, Teo Chee Hean, the connected nature of the world today has allowed cyberattacks and cyberespionage to take place from abroad, anonymized through multiple hop points in different countries and with no physical presence needed in the country where the target is located.

Speaking at the 7th Asia-Pacific Program for Senior National Security Officers (APPSNO) here Monday, Teo said: "[Cyberattacks] require new approaches to thinking about these issues as well as practical strategies to deal with them."

Also Singapore's coordinating minister for national security, he said these can include anticipating threats and working with other countries to deal with the new threats.

Anticipation, international collaboration needed

One way is to build up "anticipatory capabilities" through environment scanning as well as exchanging information and intelligence, so it will be easier to join the dots and form a more complete picture of the situation, Teo noted. This includes a theoretical element involving data analytics, risk analytics, and relationship modelling, along with a practical element. This requires testing concepts in real life to see if there are false positives and false negatives, he said.

An example is Singapore's Safe City Test Bed Intitative, which involves setting up testbeds over the next three to five years to integrate and build advanced analytics into existing sensors and systems owned by different government agencies, he pointed out. This infrastructure enables governments to correlate information from multiple sources over time and space, track and deploy resources on the ground, and enhance their collective response capability to safety and security concerns, Teo explained.

On 3 January 2013, Singapore's Economic Development Board and Ministry of Home Affairs issued a call-for-collaboration for companies to submit proposals for the Safe City intiative, a spokesperson from the agencies told ZDNet. He added as of 8 February 2013, 15 proposals had been submitted and the agencies are in the final stages of the evaluation process.

Teo also pointed to the need for international collaboration to develop effective responses to complex issues. "While not every country has the capability to ensure its own cybersecurity, one weak link may affect others in the global system," he said.

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