Singapore plans new Defence Cyber Organisation to counter security attacks

A few days back, the Internet access system at MINDEF was hacked and personal data of more than 850 policemen have been stolen.

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Singapore is getting ready to fight against its ever-growing cyber attacks. The Ministry of Defence will set up a new Defence Cyber Organisation (DCO) to counter attack the growing threats every day. A few days back, the Internet access system at MINDEF was hacked and personal data of more than 850 policemen were stolen. In the recent time, the risk of such security breach has been doubled forcing the government to focus on cyber security.

Defence Minister Dr. Ng Eng Hen revealed the news at the Committee of Supply debate last week. Hen said that his team will focus on security threats and the DCO will have the highest level of organisational sophistication. He recollected various incidents of cyber attacks triggered by countries like Russia, which has become a point of concern for others. He also explained about the 2015 Ukraine power grid attack and cyber attack on Estonia.

"The Next Gen SAF needs to prepare for this environment where state-orchestrated cyber and information campaigns against another state are not only considered legitimate but can be ongoing all the time. The impact of that threat can have real and damaging physical consequences," he was quoted by SecurityBrief Asia. The DCO will be led by a Deputy Secretary with inputs from Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and SAF officials.

DCO will also develop and implement policies, train cyber security specialists to defend and detect security threats and breach attempts round the clock. The team will have 2600 soldiers that will include scientists and engineers from the Defence Science and Technology Agency.

"Yes, national servicemen will also be trained in vocations for cyber defense - it would be silly for us not to as they are our main resource. And just as security troopers now physically protect key installations, we will deploy these NS cyber defenders to protect our installations together with the Cyber Security Agency," he was quoted in the same report.

Channel News Asia also reported, "MINDEF also announced that the Headquarters Signals and Command Systems, which includes the SAF training institute for cyber defense, will sign a memorandum of understanding with Singapore Technologies Electronics (Info-Security) and Nanyang Polytechnic this month."

This article was first published on March 6, 2017