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S'pore: New center to monitor govt systems

The facility will be operational by March 2007, and is expected to provide round-the-clock monitoring against online threats and attacks.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

SINGAPORE--The country's ICT regulator today announced plans to open a security monitoring center by March next year--a move it says will beef up online security across the country's government agencies and e-services.

According to the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), the Cyber-Watch Center (CWC) will provide real-time response to cyber threats, "boost the security" of the government's IT systems and networks, and ensure its e-services are "always available and secure".

The Singapore government currently offers businesses and consumers over 1,600 services online, ranging from the payment of road taxes, filing of income taxes and application of licenses. It also unveiled in May this year a US$1.3 billion initiative to further drive its e-services offering.

"The CWC will monitor cyber threats to government networks round-the-clock, and provide early warning of impending cyber threats," IDA said, in a statement. In events of malicious attacks and access, such as stolen confidential data, the center will immediately inform the relevant government agency to take the necessary steps to rectify the situation.

Manned by a team of 12 IT security professionals, comprising security analysts and engineers, the CWC will also rely on new security tools such as security events correlation, to detect sophisticated attacks and separate false alarms from genuine security incidents, according to IDA.

Operations of the center, including staff members, have been outsourced to Singapore-based security vendor e-Cop, in a contract worth S$18 million (US$11.3 million) over five years.

"The tender is based on a subscription model to cater to the specialized needs of various government agencies," an IDA spokesperson told ZDNet Asia.

The CWC is part of the Singapore government's US$23.8 million investment to boost the country's IT security infrastructure, first announced in February 2005 and which had included a National Cyber Threat Monitoring Center (NCMC).

The IDA spokesperson told ZDNet Asia that the NCMC will comprise the new CWC as well as plans for a Threat Analysis Center. "While the CWC will focus on identifying acute attacks on government systems, the Threat Analysis Center will identify insidious cyber threats that require more time and information to determine," the IDA official explained.

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