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Singapore to invest S$10 million in ASEAN cybersecurity

Singapore plans to invest S$10 million (£6 million) in a cybersecurity initiative for the whole ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) region.13 Oct 2016

Yaacob Ibrahim, Singapore's minister for communications and information, announced the plan at the ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity, the day after the country launched its own cybersecurity strategy.

"Singapore recognises that ASEAN member states and dialogue partners have already been working closely on many initiatives dealing with incident response, confidence building, and technical cyber capacity building. For example, the ASEAN regional forum has been a useful dialogue platform on confidence building measures," Yaacob said.

"To complement these efforts, Singapore is pleased to launch a S$10m ASEAN cyber capacity programme (ACCP)", he said.

The ACCP will pay for resources, expertise and training, "so that we will be equipped to drive and take ownership of the cybersecurity agenda in our respective countries. More specifically, the programme will provide the resources to broaden the scope of capacity building activities and better hone technical skills and incident response", Yaacob said.

Yaacob also launched an initiative called CyberGreen, which aims to improve countries' awareness of the state of their own cyber health and potential vulnerabilities.

"With this situational awareness, countries can then take preventive action to deal with potential cyber risks and vulnerabilities. The better a country’s cyber health, the 'greener' it will be," Yaacob said.

Over time, the initiative will develop ways of measuring cyber 'health' to see how countries are progressing on cybersecurity, he said.

All ASEAN member states will be able to access CyberGreen through Singapore for free, and get a report on the state of their own country’s cyber health status, he said.

Singapore's prime minister Lee Hsien Loong launched a cybersecurity strategy this week.

The strategy has been developed by Singapore's Cyber Security Agency (CSA), which was set up last year.

"Singapore aspires to be a smart nation. But to be a smart nation, we must also be a safe cyber nation. The potential of ICT and digital technologies depends on how much we can trust the internet and cyberspace. We have got to get cybersecurity right," Lee said.