Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-In-Charge of Cyber Security at the Opening Ceremony of Temasek Polytechnic's IT Security and Forensics Hub

27 Jul 2015


IHLs-Industry partnerships play important role in training cyber security professionals and supporting growing cyber security industry

Distinguished guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning.  I am pleased to join you today at the opening of Temasek Polytechnic’s IT Security and Forensics Hub. 

2. As we enjoy greater connectivity and convenience, with more systems going online, we also have to take cyber security very seriously.  Our systems are constantly being probed and attacked. Like IT systems anywhere else, they are sometimes compromised.  At one end of the spectrum are hacking tools and services available for hire that dramatically lower the barriers to entry into the world of cybercrime.  The other end is occupied by sponsored hacker organisations that are well-resourced and highly capable.  Hacktivists and cyber criminals occupy the space in between with varying degrees of activity and expertise. 

Developing Singapore’s Cyber Security Ecosystem

3. It is therefore important for us to ensure that we have strong defences and are able to respond to attacks. That is why we set up a Cyber Security Agency in April this year to oversee all the national cyber security functions.  This includes building up our cybersecurity ecosystem to support the secure usage of technology.  There will be a need to produce a sufficient pool of cyber security professionals to support a growing cyber-security industry. Practitioners will also need to constantly upgrade their skills to deal with cyber threats of growing sophistication. 

4. This is an area where the Institutes of Higher Learning and the industry play an important role.  I am pleased to note that Temasek Polytechnic has contributed to developing our talent pool, by offering two types of Diplomas in Cyber Security and Forensics.  It is also collaborating with industry players like IBM, Cisco Systems, EMC, Fujitsu, NCS, RSA, VMWare to provide better training to students and equipping them with industry-relevant skills.

5. To date, a total of 512 students from Temasek Polytechnic have graduated and received their Diplomas in Cyber and Digital Security and in Digital Forensics since the courses were introduced in 2006 and 2011 respectively. Brandon Lum, a recipient of the Lee Kuan Yew award, was one of these students who spent three illustrious years in Temasek Polytechnic. Most people expected Brandon to enter the Junior College when he scored an aggregate of 7 points at the GCE ‘O’ Level examinations but he surprised everyone when he decided to follow his passion in technology and enrolled in Temasek Polytechnic’s Cyber and Digital Security course. He has not looked back since. An outstanding software applications developer, he earned recognition locally and internationally for his application called Smart Shop which is aimed at enhancing the experience of online shoppers using Open Source and Augmented Reality technologies. He is currently pursuing a degree in Carnegie Mellon University, one of the world’s top universities in cyber security studies, and will return to Singapore next year to work with his sponsor IBM.  And to think that his mother used to tell him not to spend so much time at the computer!

6. It has been a common refrain that aside from the shortfall in cyber security professionals, very few females are opting to pursue studies in this field. I was heartened to learn that the top student in Temasek Polytechnic’s Diploma in Digital Forensics in 2015 is a young lady!  I hear she is here today to join us in the launch. Nur Syakirah Bte Mohd Said received the IBM Gold Medal, the IDA Excellence Award and the RSA Special Industry Prize and will soon be continuing her studies in Singapore Management University’s School of Information Systems Management next month. I hope we will see more female students like her in our institutions. 

7. Our universities too, are stepping up education efforts in the area of cyber security.  New initiatives include benchmarking cybersecurity specialisations against international standards and introducing new cyber information security degrees at the Bachelors and Masters levels. We have certainly made good progress and I hope to see more institutions come forward to offer these courses.

Industry Relevant Cyber Security Skills

8. The opening of Temasek Polytechnic’s IT Security and Forensics Hub, in partnership with leading solutions providers from the industry, is timely.  At the Hub, senior students will be able to apply their skills and engage with real clients to provide IT services as well as take on projects or work on security analysis. They will be able to work with the technologies that are used in the industry. In addition, they will be mentored by both industry experts and Temasek Polytechnic staff, and pick up fundamental knowledge in IT networking, server management and storage as well as IT security and forensics. I have no doubt that the IT Security and Forensics Hub will contribute towards nurturing more cyber security professionals for Singapore and I look forward to seeing more of such initiatives.


9. Infocomm developments and innovation will continue at a rapid pace, and this applies to the emergence of new technologies and threats alike.  I would like to encourage more students to consider cyber security as a profession, and take up the challenge to secure and safeguard the trustworthiness of our cyber environment.   Only with a safe and secure cyber space will we be able to realise, and benefit from, the maximum potential of infocomm technologies.

10. On this note, I congratulate Temasek Polytechnic on the launch of their IT Security and Forensics Hub and I wish all the partners and students every success.