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Singapore and Japan ink accord to strengthen cybersecurity cooperation

Kyodo

Singapore and Japan signed a pact on Monday to boost cybersecurity cooperation between the two countries.

The memorandum of cooperation provides for the holding of regular policy dialogues between the two countries in addition to information exchanges, collaborations to enhance cybersecurity awareness, joint regional capacity-building efforts, and sharing of best practices, Singapore’s Cyber Security Agency said in a statement.

David Koh, chief executive of the CSA, signed the pact with Ikuo Misumi, deputy director general of Japan’s National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity, on the sidelines of the second Association of Southeast Asian Nations ministerial conference on cybersecurity that was held in the city-state Monday.

Before this, Singapore and Japan had already been working closely together on various cybersecurity initiatives at both the bilateral and multilateral levels, and the deal “will serve to bring our cooperation and relations a step further,” Koh was quoted as saying in the statement.

The move comes at a time when Singapore is planning to introduce a cybersecurity bill in parliament next year that will require the owners of critical information infrastructures to take responsibility for securing their systems. The bill is also expected to facilitate information-sharing and empower the local authorities to work closely with affected parties to resolve cybersecurity incidents in a timely manner.

The Singapore agency has previously signed pacts on cybersecurity with Australia, France, India, the Netherlands, Britain, the United States and Germany.

Misumi also attended a special session on cybersecurity that the ASEAN ministers and senior officials held for the first time on Monday with five of the group’s dialogue partners, on the sidelines of the ASEAN meeting.

Aside from Japan, the other dialogue partners involved in the meeting were Australia, China, New Zealand and the United States.

At their own meeting, ASEAN members expressed support for the development of basic, operational and voluntary norms of behavior to guide the use of info-communication technology in the region in a responsible manner.

Speaking at the opening of the ASEAN ministerial conference on Monday morning, Yaacob Ibrahim, Singapore’s minister for communications and information, called for “a coherent, coordinated global effort” that would facilitate a “confident exchange of information among states and execution of joint operations to effectively respond to trans-boundary cyber threats.”

He cited an Interpol-led cybersecurity operation earlier this year that brought together investigators from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam to share information on specific cybercrimes.

As a result of that close to 9,000 malicious servers and hundreds of compromised websites, including government portals, were identified in this Interpol-led operation, he said.

According to telecommunications and technology company Telstra’s Cyber Security Report 2017 that was released earlier this year, nearly 60 percent of organizations surveyed in Asia have detected a business-interrupting security breach at least once a month.

The report indicated that businesses in India are most at risk to cybersecurity attacks, followed closely by Hong Kong, while organizations in Singapore appeared to be the most resilient with the least number of incidents occurring weekly.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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