Ahead of her presentation at Cloud Expo Asia Singapore in October, Dr Vivy Suhendra, executive director at the Singapore Cybersecurity Consortium, dives deep into the consortium’s work to shore up Singapore’s cyber resilience
Cyber security is a constantly evolving field, and rapidly so. We need to not only keep pace with cyber threats in the present, but also build capabilities to tackle future challenges. The National Cybersecurity R&D (NCR) programme focuses on developing research and development (R&D) expertise and capabilities in cyber security that are critical to staying ahead of present and future threats.
This is a non-trivial effort involving multiple interdependent aspects. The programme currently comprises local and international grants for fundamental research as well as translational / applied research; shared national infrastructure to support research experimentation, validation and training; an engagement platform to drive conversations and collaboration among multiple stakeholders; and cyber security postgraduate scholarship to develop the workforce.
All these initiatives under the NCR programme contribute to growing an ecosystem with a strong cyber security posture and up-to-date capabilities in the face of the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape.
Need to have, not nice to have
As the world increasingly undergoes digital transformation, technology is becoming intertwined with the economy and operations of nations and their citizens’ lives. The security of digital infrastructures may well be a matter of survival – as we found out in 2015 when an attack on Ukraine’s power grid in left people without electricity for a few hours. Branches that undermine key institutions could also drain a nation’s resources and weaken it considerably, such as in 2016 when the Bangladesh Bank was subject to a severe cyber heist.
Cyber security R&D is needed to resolve the many challenges that have arisen and will keep arising in tandem with technological advances, in the effort to ensure that nations’ infrastructure and information are resilient to malicious or unintended cyber acts. The importance is not so much about investing heavily, but in investing strategically and sustainably to address the most pertinent and relevant cyber problems that could differ from nation to nation depending on their digital posture.
Top cyber threats
Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) are one of the main threats facing nations, as highlighted in Singapore Cyber Landscape 2018, published by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore.