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New Cybersecurity Act for Singapore

13/04/2016 by Sharon Shahzad


As the threat of cybercrime intensifies around the world, the Minister for Communications and Information in Singapore, Yaacob Ibrahim, has revealed that the nation will implement a new Cybersecurity Act in 2017. It was reported in the Straits Times that the legislation will make it mandatory for operators of critical information infrastructure to ensure their systems are resilient to threats. They will also be required to report any cybersecurity breaches or incidents.

Many countries are coming up with new rules for dealing with cyberthreats as criminals become increasingly sophisticated in their attacks. In Singapore, the new act will enforce a number of new rules, whilst it will also give power to the nation’s Cybersecurity Agency (CSA), which was set up in 2015. The CSA will be charged with raising the standards of security as well as managing cyber incidents.

Talking about the new rules, Ibrahim said: “Cyberattacks 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.”

The threat of cybersecurity breaches in Singapore has been rising, and awareness on the issue has been growing as a result. The latest research from AIG Singapore suggests that the cybersecurity market could grow by almost 50 per cent over the coming 12 months as businesses start to understand the financial and reputational risks of cyberattacks. In fact, in AIG Singapore’s survey, two-thirds of public businesses responded that cyber insurance is likely to become more important, despite just nine per cent of those surveyed already having this cover in place.

AIG Singapore Head of Financial Lines Lai Yen Yen explained: “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 ten per cent of Singapore companies hold such insurance, but we forecast that the number of companies taking up cyber insurance will accelerate to 40 per cent by 2020.”

Meanwhile, data from Marsh showed that companies buying insurance cover for cyberattacks are most worried about their reputation, with breaches potentially damaging consumers’ views of a firm. Their information echoed that of AIG Singapore’s, with 22 per cent of respondents having cyber insurance but 47 per cent planning to buy it in the coming year. As a result, this sector is likely to see significant growth.

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