Singapore to Enhance Operational Technology (OT) Systems Amidst Reports of High Ransomware Attacks

August 2022

According to a recent study published by cyber-security technology firm Cybereason, Ransomware attacks, where attackers infiltrate systems and encrypt the data inside before demanding a ransom, are on the rise, and organizations in Singapore are among the most targeted in the world. Among the countries polled, 80 percent of respondents from Singapore stated that their organizations had been hit by a ransomware attack in the past 24 months, above the global average of 72 percent. Respondents from Singapore also had the lowest confidence in their organizations’ ability to manage a ransomware attack, with about 64 percent stating that they were confident in their organizations’ people, while 61 percent were confident in their policies.

To help combat this, the Singapore government announced during the OT Cybersecurity Expert Panel (OTCEP) that it aims to shore up its defenses against cybersecurity threats aimed at Operational Technology (OT) systems used in critical systems, such as healthcare and utilities. As part of this initiative, the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) will fund 80 scholarships over three years for science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) professionals to pursue a Master of Science in Security, in line with last year’s launch of the OT Cybersecurity Competency Framework, which details OT security roles with the corresponding technical skills and core competencies.

The CSA also recently revised the Cybersecurity Code-of-Practice, which specifies the minimum security requirements that operators of critical infrastructure should implement under Singapore’s Cybersecurity Act. Singapore’s National Integrated Centre for Evaluation was also jointly launched in May 2022 by CSA and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to provide a one-stop facility for cyber security evaluation and certification, bringing together different players in the security evaluation ecosystem to form a community of practice that will learn together and advance the field.

(Sources: Straits Times, Computer Weekly)

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