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Singapore to introduce new Cybersecurity Act next year

Singapore will introduce a new Cybersecurity Act next year, minister for communications and information Yaacob Ibrahim has said, according to the Straits Times12 Apr 2016

The Act will require operators of Singapore's critical information infrastructure to take steps to ensure the resilience of those systems and report cybersecurity incidents, the news site said.

It will also give powers to Singapore's Cybersecurity Agency (CSA), established last year, to manage cyber incidents and raise the standards of cyber security providers, Yaacob told Singapore's parliament, the Straits Times said.

"Cyber-attacks have increased in sophistication, and attackers have become faster and bolder. It is inevitable that Singapore's critical information infrastructure will at some point be targets," Yaacob said.

Awareness of the threat of cybersecurity has been rising in Singapore, and the market for cybersecurity in Singapore could grow by as much as 50% over the next year, according to research by AIG Singapore.

Businesses are becoming more aware of the reputational and financial risks of cyber breaches, particularly as Singapore increases its moves to become a Smart Nation with interconnected technology and increased automation, AIG Singapore said.

Two thirds of public companies surveyed said that cyber insurance will be more important in future, however the survey revealed only 9% of those organisations have cyber insurance cover to date, the insurance company said.

AIG Singapore’s head of financial lines, Lai Yen Yen, said: "Over the past three years, AIG Singapore has seen a seven-fold increase in inquiries about cyber insurance policies. We predict this strong demand from Singapore companies will continue over the next five years. Based on what we have observed, less than 10% of Singapore companies hold such insurance, but we forecast that the number of companies taking up cyber insurance will accelerate to 40% by 2020."

Current demand for cyber insurance comes from finance and technology companies, but AIG Insurance expects to see increasing interest from the healthcare sector, it said.

A recent survey of insurance buyers by Marsh found that companies are most concerned about the effect a cyber attack or data breach would have on their reputation.

Marsh's results echoed those of AIG Insurance in that while only 22% of those surveyed have standalone cyber insurance, 47% plan to buy this in the next 12 months.

Spending on cyber security will rise to at least 8% of the Singapore government's IT budget, the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) said in January.