Singapore To Spend $1B On Cyber Security

Singapore will allocate $1 billion over the next three years to improve the Government's cyber and data security, said the Singaporean Finance Minister, Heng Swee Keat, this month.As a small city-state, Singapore is vulnerable to volatilities in its external environment, he said, adding the country’s security remains a high priority in the Budget and must be “funded adequately”.

This is to safeguard citizens' data and critical information infrastructure systems, he said, with data security being a vital prerequisite and key enabler of Singapore's digital economy.

He said that Singapore must be prepared to deal with cyber threats, as digitalisation becomes more pervasive. Its cyber capabilities have been raised significantly, with the setting up of the Cyber Security Agency (CSA) in 2015 and the passing of the Cybersecurity Act in 2018.

CSA is preparing measures for the next level of cyber security as advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things are adopted, he added. "All of us, in the Government, enterprises and as individuals, will need to stay vigilant and strengthen our cyber and data security capabilities."

Other than enabling Singapore's digital economy, data security is also key to preserving trust in a digitally connected world, said Mr Heng, who is also Deputy Prime Minister.

The Personal Data Protection Act was enacted in 2012, and the public service has also adopted comprehensive measures to secure and protect citizens' data, he said.  Security was one of three major long-term challenges Mr Heng flagged in his Budget speech, along with climate change and fiscal sustainability.

Despite the many calls on Singapore's Budget in uncertain times, the country's peace, prosperity and stability cannot be taken for granted, he said. "As a small city-state, we are particularly vulnerable to volatility in our external environment...It is imperative that we continue to invest in our external, internal, cyber and data security to keep Singapore and our families safe and secure," Mr. Heng said.

"A strong Singapore Armed Forces supports our diplomatic efforts and ensures that other countries take Singapore seriously. We must be ever ready to defend our interests should negotiations fail...We must continue to ensure a credible deterrence, by maintaining our military and technological edge, in a prudent manner that stretches every defence dollar."

He pointed out that the Personal Data Protection Act had been enacted in 2012, and that the public service had adopted “comprehensive measures” to secure and protect the data of citizens here. The country must continue to enhance its cyber capabilities as it embarks on initiatives to realise its smart nation ambitions, he said.

Apart from startups, small and midsize businesses (SMBs) also would get more support this year via an Enterprise Grow Package, he said. This aimed to help organisations identify business needs, adopt pre-approved digital technologies, and enter new markets, he added. Initiatives targeted for launch under the package included a GoBusiness platform, which Heng described as a single touchpoint for businesses to transact digitally with the government.

Straits Times:      Channel News Asia:     ZDNet

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