SINGAPORE'S plan to beef up its pool of infocomm security experts got a boost yesterday with the launch of a Centre of Excellence by global cyber-security firm FireEye.
The centre, which is FireEye's first in the Asia-Pacific, functioning also as its regional headquarters, will train and hire more than 100 cyber security professionals over the next two years, under a tie-up with the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore.
Guest-of-honour and managing director of IDA Singapore, Jacqueline Poh, said in recent years, cyber threats have been increasing in size, scale and sophistication. She referred to a finding in FireEye's 2012 Advanced Threat report, which revealed that across industries, organisations on average are experiencing malicious software-related activities once every three minutes.
"Attackers have also been quick to exploit new developments in technology... In recent years, mobile devices and social media sites have come under increasing attack. As wearable devices and smart phone systems start to take off, there has been concern that these can also be hacked."
Ms Poh further underscored the importance of having relevant cyber security solutions by citing the unprecedented cyber-attack in November last year where several government websites were hacked into by hactivist organisation, Anonymous.
"The Singapore government responded swiftly to defend its digital assets, contain the attacks and apprehend suspects, but we are under no illusion that this is the end. We could well face more serious coordinated threats in future, in addition to the numerous ones we deal with every day."
Ashar Aziz, founder and chief technology & strategy officer of FireEye, remarked that such cyber breaches are inevitable, for the simple reason that the attackers have moved beyond the current state of the art for defensive technologies that exist today.
"Attackers have the technology to breach them. So our goal is to advance on both fronts - the technology front with better defending technology as well as people who will be able to deploy that technology for maximum protectiveness."
IDA will support FireEye by accrediting the latter's training programmes to build up manpower expertise in the areas of threat detection and analytical capabilities to support customers in Singapore and around the globe.
Through this collaboration, new roles will also be created to fill in the various gaps of local cyber security.
FireEye's report also raised awareness for improving current security measures.
It stated that rapidly evolving cyber threats are easily bypassing traditional security measures, threatening to disrupt individual users and leaving defaced websites vulnerable to data theft and system disruption, which is the impetus of the second area of the collaboration - improving cyber security solutions.
IDA will also facilitate collaboration between FireEye and relevant institutes such as the Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) and local Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to develop at least ten new detection and prevention application tools to tackle malware.
The establishment of the centre goes in line with the National Infocomm Security Committee's National Cyber Security Masterplan 2018 (NCSM) goal to secure Singapore's cyber environment and strengthen its resilience against cyber threats.
In December 2013, Ms Poh also spoke at the opening address of the Cyber Security Academy, which was also established to develop cyber security human capital.