Published on 22 Aug 2023
Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Communications and Information, Second Minister for Home Affairs, and Minister-in-charge of Smart Nation and Cybersecurity,
1. Good morning. Welcome to the third Operational Technology Cybersecurity Expert Panel (OTCEP) Forum.
2. This year’s OTCEP has attracted the largest ever participation from our international and local partners, since we started in 2021 during the height of Covid. We don’t just have practitioners and experts, but also senior decision makers and policy makers. The strong turnout reflects the growing priority that we are placing on OT cybersecurity as well as the strong partnerships that we have built up in the last two years.
3. This year, a new expert panel has been appointed for a term of two years, with four new members and six returning members. I would like to take this opportunity to extend a warm welcome to our new members. To our returning members, thank you for your continued support for OTCEP.
Key Message 1: The OT threat landscape remains challenging.
4. OTCEP was first established in 2021 in recognition of the need to address the growing threat in our OT environment. From the 2010 Stuxnet incident, the Ukraine power grid attack in 2015 to the discovery of the PIPEDREAM malware toolkit, the importance of OT cybersecurity could not have been repeatedly impressed upon us. Threat actors have demonstrated persistence and improved capabilities to conduct malicious cyber activities against OT systems. Successful compromise of these systems, of which the delivery of essential services depends on, would jeopardise our national security, public and environmental safety, and the economy. The stakes are too high for us to ignore, and we need to do more.
5. For the past few years, much good work has been done by the community to strengthen OT cybersecurity, but it is not enough. The threat we face is unrelenting and constantly evolving. The growing convergence between IT and OT systems expands the attack surface and introduces new risks that must be mitigated.
Key Message 2: Embracing new perspective and strengthening capabilities are key to confront the new and emerging challenges.
6. Today’s forum theme, “Embracing New Perspectives and Strengthening Capabilities”, thus resonates with me. I strongly believe that we cannot rely on old answers to address new challenges we face. We need to look to innovation and creativity to come up with novel solutions to solve new and emerging cybersecurity challenges.
7. Emerging technologies, in particular, open up exciting possibilities for cybersecurity. From AI-driven threat detection to quantum-resistant encryption, emerging technologies present tremendous potential to drive innovation that can bring significant improvements to our cyber defence capabilities. This is a major opportunity, and we should not lose it.
Key Message 3: OTCEP supports the exchange of ideas and cultivation of partnership that are important for the emergence and realisation of novel solutions.
8. Open exchanges of ideas and cultivation of strong partnerships often play a pivotal role in the emergence and realisation of ground-breaking solutions.
9. Hence, the Forum this year introduces a new OT Capability Showcase, which brings together our community’s capabilities; insights; and expertise, to facilitate knowledge-sharing and spark new ideas that can help us deal with our shared challenges together.
10. We will also witness the signing of MOUs between partners, where organisations seek to unlock different areas of partnerships so that they can collectively level up their capabilities to address OT threats.
11. OTCEP has been a platform to facilitate meaningful dialogue within the OT community, and we hope to continue creating more opportunities for everyone to come together and harness the power of collective wisdom and create a safer and more resilient cyberspace for all.
12. Once again, thank you all and I welcome you to the OT Cybersecurity Expert Panel Forum.
13. I wish you all a fruitful exchange of ideas and an enjoyable forum.