On Formation Of SAF’s 4th Service – The Digital & Intelligence Service (DIS)

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In light of Parliament passing amendments this week to the SAF Act that paves the way for the formation of a new Digital and Intelligence Service (DIS) to defend Singapore against threats in the digital domain, Kaspersky’s General Manager for Southeast Asia, Yeo Siang Tiong offers comments as follows:

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“The formation of a new Digital and Intelligence Service (DIS) in Singapore to deal with cyberthreats that seek to threaten the Republic’s security is a timely and forward-looking move. Cyberthreats are on the rise globally and Kaspersky’s Security Network data shows that Singapore experienced an 18% increase in Internet-borne cyberthreats in 2Q2022 compared to 1Q2022, with 1.82 million different web-borne threats detected here between April-June this year. Critical infrastructure assets are high value targets for both state-sponsored cyber espionage and non-state actors such as active ransomware groups. The digital transformation taking place in the industrial sector unfortunately has made attacking critical infrastructure simpler than before.

 

Disruption to essential services here from electricity to gas and water would have ramifications not only locally but also elsewhere given Singapore’s position as a regional and global hub for air and sea transportation and logistics, financial services and various high-tech industries. In that regard, Singapore is a high-value target for cyber criminals and the reputational impact on the country in the event of a major cyber breach is significant.

 

Given the high demand for tech skills in Singapore and around the world, the issue of talent recruitment for the DIS was discussed extensively in Parliament. The sensitivity of a role in the DIS means there is little scope to hire from the global pool of tech talents, and hence there is an even greater need to step up the development of local cybersecurity experts here. At the end of last year, Kaspersky expanded its academic partnership program with tertiary institutions in Singapore, signing three separate Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), Republic Polytechnic (RP), and Temasek Polytechnic (TP). As part of the MOUs, Kaspersky will provide support in curriculum development, consultancy in the areas of digital forensics, malware analysis, threat intelligence, threat hunting and incident response, as well as student and staff training opportunities along with student internship programs.

 

The formation of the DIS provides further impetus for Kaspersky, and other stakeholders, to proactively help in raising the level of cyber expertise and upskilling the current IT professionals in Singapore.”

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