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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                    22  September 2011

New cyber security centre for Singapore

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Singapore will set up a new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to boost its capability to counter cyber security threats.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean made the announcement at the opening of the Singapore Global Dialogue on Wednesday evening.

The centre will help the government deal more effectively with cyber security threats and vulnerabilities by enhancing capabilities in early detection and prevention.

It will also serve as a nodal point to coordinate awareness and the implementation of measures between public and private sector stakeholders.

The centre will be headed by the Singapore Infocomm Technology Security Authority (SITSA).

The NCSC will be rolled out in phases and completed in two to three years. Phase 1, which focuses on cyber monitoring of critical information infrastructure for the security and emergency services sector, has already been completed.

Speaking at the international security conference, Mr Teo, who is also the Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs, noted that while the advancement of infocomm technologies has provided tremendous convenience and opportunities, it has also created a unique set of challenges.

The central dilemma is how to balance the benefits which the Internet has created in terms of openness, accessibility and convenience, against the risks of abuse, exploitation and criminality.

This balance needs to be addressed in three sectors - business, government and society.

On the social front, Mr Teo said while the Internet has been a positive force in creating new social networks and widening social circles, it has also given rise to concerns on how personal data shared online could be exploited for harmful means.

Besides facilitating social connections, the cyber space has also shaped social change and activism.

Mr Teo pointed out the organising power of the social media, which can bring about instantaneous and uncoordinated mass mobilisation of people, can also be misused. The anonymity of the Internet means that extreme views can be aired without accountability.

The cyber world has also been used for more sinister ends by terrorists to disseminate their tradecraft and ideology.

Mr Teo stressed that there is a need to develop a set of norms to guide behaviour on cyber space.

Turning to the government sector, Mr Teo highlighted that Singapore as a highly networked government has itself created a significant vulnerability.

The inter-dependency of its networked system means that a successful attack in one sector would have many knock-on effects, which could effectively paralyse the nation.

In Singapore, IT security firm Symantec estimated that cyber crime has led to a loss of S$1.1 billion last year.



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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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