Singapore and UK to cooperate on cybersecurity capacity building

Singapore and the United Kingdom have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) on Cybersecurity Capacity Building, in conjunction with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s visit to London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

The MoC was signed by Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan, Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the Government of Singapore, and The Right Honourable Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The MoC builds on and extends the close cooperation already existing between the two countries under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cybersecurity Cooperation, signed between the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) and the UK Cabinet Office in 2015.

Under this MoC the two countries will cooperate to deliver cybersecurity capacity building programmes to Commonwealth Member States for a two-year period beginning September 2018.

Furthermore, the UK will also actively participate in Singapore’s ASEAN Cyber Capacity Programme (ACCP) that was launched in 2016.

Previously, in addition to the MoU with the UK, CSA had signed  Memoranda of Understanding with Australia, France, India, the Netherlands, and the United States, a Joint Declaration on cybersecurity cooperation with Germany, as well as a MOC with Japan.

Mr David Koh, Chief Executive of CSA said, “The signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation is testament to the excellent ongoing cybersecurity cooperation between Singapore and the United Kingdom. It presents an opportunity for both countries to share expertise and resources to offer a coordinated and robust cybersecurity capacity building programme to our partners in the Commonwealth. We are also delighted to have the UK on board the ASEAN Cyber Capacity Programme and look forward to enhancing cybersecurity awareness and capabilities in the region."

Cybersecurity is a key area of focus for ASEAN. Singapore is the chair of ASEAN for 2018. Singapore’s Foreign Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan has emphasised that ASEAN countries “need to step up, and to step up urgently, collaboration on cybersecurity, because you can’t have a smarter world, you can’t have e-commerce, you can’t have seamless digital transactions if you don’t have cybersecurity. It’s the flip side of the coin.”

At the 2nd ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity, it was revealed that Singapore will set aside S$1.5 million of the ACCP to build technical capability among incident responders and operators in the ASEAN region. The S$10 million ACCP was announced at the Opening Ceremony of the inaugural ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity during the first Singapore International Cyber Week in 2016. Through a modular, multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplinary approach, the ACCP seeks to develop technical, policy and strategy-building capabilities within ASEAN Member States through workshops, seminars and conferences organised, in collaboration with partners such as Government agencies, industry players and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), including the US Department of State, the MITRE Corporation, Cyber Law International and the ICT4Peace Foundation.

The recent Sydney Declaration at the inaugural ASEAN-Australia Summit also includes a commitment to deepening cooperation on cyber security.  

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