14 Oct 2021
The sixth edition of the Singapore International Cyber Week (SICW) concluded on 8 October 2021 with nearly 2,000 local and international attendees participating in this year’s hybrid event. With more than a dozen events covering a myriad of topics ranging from technology to operations to policy, SICW 2021 attracted a diverse audience mix of government officials, industry representatives, academics and cybersecurity professionals.
The message of collaboration and cooperation permeated through the various events and fora of SICW 2021, with speakers emphasising the importance of cybersecurity as a collective responsibility. In his address at the SICW opening ceremony on 5 Oct, Singapore’s Senior Minister (SM) and Coordinating Minister for National Security, Mr Teo Chee Hean, called on countries to build consensus and collaborate with each other, as well as develop cybersecurity capabilities so that the world can collectively benefit from digitalisation.
“Countries need to work together to develop new governance principles, frameworks and standards…to preserve trust and confidence… We must build up security capabilities that can keep pace with rapid technological developments and stay at least one step ahead of malicious cyber attackers,” said SM Teo .
SM Teo also launched the updated Singapore Cybersecurity Strategy 2021 which outlines Singapore’s plan to take a more proactive stance to address cyber threats, raise the overall level of cybersecurity in citizens and businesses, and advance international norms and standards on cybersecurity. The new strategy is precipitated by momentous shifts in the cyber operating environment, which include the maturing of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and 5G; growing cyber-physical risks in the Internet of Things and Operational Technology; ubiquitous digital connectivity post-pandemic; and increasing geopolitical tensions in cyberspace.
The call for greater collaboration was also emphasised a day earlier (4 Oct) at the SICW’s signature Fireside Chat by Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information, and Minister-in-charge of Smart Nation and Cybersecurity, Mrs Josephine Teo. Mrs Teo partook in a lively panel discussion with Google Cloud CEO Mr Thomas Kurian and Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company, Mr Anand Swaminathan, where they discussed the impact of COVID-19 on digital and cybersecurity. Given the complexity and borderless nature of cyber threats, Mrs Teo called on small states such as Singapore to build meaningful partnerships with like-minded nations to shape the norms and rules of responsible behaviour for a safer cyberspace. Mrs Teo also encouraged the public and private sectors to collaborate, across borders, to develop standards and frameworks for a more secure cyberspace, one example of which is Singapore’s first-of-its-kind Cybersecurity Labelling Scheme (CLS).
At the International IoT Security Roundtable on 6 Oct, Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Transport and Communications Agency of Finland (Traficom) to mutually recognise the cybersecurity labels issued by both countries. The MOU - the first of such mutual recognition under the scheme - will reduce duplicated testing across different countries and improve the ease of doing business for manufacturers of smart IoT consumer products.
Mrs Teo also reaffirmed the importance of collaboration at the regional level when she officiated the opening ceremony of the ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity (AMCC) on 6 Oct. Addressing ASEAN ministers, she highlighted three areas i.e. cybersecurity strategy, cyber operations-technology collaboration and capacity building as examples of how ASEAN countries could work closely together to strengthen cybersecurity in the region. For example, Singapore had kickstarted discussions on updating the next iteration of the ASEAN Cybersecurity Cooperation Strategy. Mrs Teo cited the newly launched ASEAN-Singapore Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence (ASCCE) campus to highlight Singapore’s efforts in cyber capacity building. Announced in 2018 as an extension of the ASEAN Cyber Capacity Programme (ACCP), the ASCCE has since delivered more than 30 programmes attended by over 900 senior officials from ASEAN and beyond, and collaborated with over 40 partners from across governments, private sector, academia and non-governmental organisations.
Embodying the ethos of cybersecurity as a team sport, CSA launched the SG Cyber Safe Partnership Programme on 7 Oct. Under this initiative, CSA will work with 19 pioneer companies – for a start - to amplify cybersecurity outreach efforts to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the wider community. Cybersecurity toolkits for key enterprise roles were also launched to help enterprises take greater ownership of cybersecurity, At the Women in Cyber event on Oct 8, Mrs Teo introduced the Operational Technology Cybersecurity Competency Framework (OTCCF) which maps out the cybersecurity job roles, technical skills and core competencies for employers, training providers and individuals in the growing and increasingly critical operational technology sector.
“[G]overnments do not necessarily have a monopoly on the solutions to cyber challenges. It is crucial for governments, industry and other stakeholders to work together to address the novel threats that have arisen as a result of new technologies, and we want to do so in the hope that there will be a safer digital domain for all of us, that allows us to better manage the risks for the wider good.
“For the Singapore International Cyber Week, we have always strived to bring together the various stakeholders across the different domains, across the different boundaries, so that we can…advance our common goals towards building a safer, more secure and interoperable cyberspace,” said Mrs Josephine Teo in her closing remarks at the SICW 2021 Ministerial Roundtable Closing Session on 7 Oct.
To catch up on the events and key moments from SICW 2021, visit the SICW YouTube Page.