Jul 25, 2013

    Wanted: More cyber security experts

    THE rising sophistication of cyberattacks that can even disrupt the operations of key infocomm infrastructure - such as those in the banking, transport, energy and public sectors - is a potential threat to Singapore.

    This is made worse by a global shortage of highly-skilled infocomm-security professionals who can defend against such attacks.

    So, Singapore is embarking on a five-year National Cyber Security Masterplan to boost the number of such security experts here and bolster its defences against cyber threats.

    Announcing this yesterday, Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said that as of 2011, information-technology-security specialists made up just 1 per cent of Singapore's infocomm-industry manpower.

    Dr Yaacob was speaking at the Information Security Seminar held at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre.

    To address this, the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) will, under the masterplan, work with tertiary institutes here to incorporate infocomm-security courses and degree programmes into the curriculum.

    IDA will also work with industry partners to attract and retain IT-security specialists.

    An IDA spokesman said that feedback from the industry and government agencies "indicates a need for more cyber-security professionals across the full spectrum of cyber-security expertise".

    This includes policymaking, security standards and advanced technical skills.

    All polytechnics offer diploma courses in information security. But there are no degree programmes in cyber security at local universities.

    Mr Walter Lee, an information-security expert with over 20 years of experience, said besides training more security experts, those working in the IT and e-commerce industry should undergo a fundamental infocomm-security course. Mr Yow Tau Keon, chief executive of information-security provider e-Cop, said security experts need "deeper knowledge in security policy, and risk and compliance management".

    The masterplan will also look into boosting the resilience of critical infocomm infrastructure, by identifying vulnerabilities and gaps. National cyber-security exercises will also, for the first time, be conducted across different sectors with such infrastructure.

    The Cyber Watch Centre and Threat Assessment Centre will be upgraded for improved detection and analysis of cyber threats. They were set up in 2005 to mitigate cyber threats in the public sector.