Singapore to form national cyber-security agency

New unit will focus on improving security and readying defenses against cyberattacks

Singapore will set up a government agency, the Singapore Infocomm Technology Security Authority (SITSA), to handle technology-related threats to the city-state's national security, a government minister said Wednesday.

"It will be the specialist authority to deal with threats to national security, especially external threats such as cyber-terrorism and cyber-espionage," said K. Shanmugam, Singapore's minister for law and second minister for home affairs, according to a transcript of his speech.

SITSA will be under the Internal Security Department of Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs, which has handled security for government IT systems, Shanmugam said.

"SITSA is being formed at a time when the world has witnessed the Estonian cyberwar in 2007 and the Georgian cyberwar in 2008. In July this year, we witnessed yet another widespread cyber attack. This time, it was targeted against government and banking websites in South Korea and the United States," he said.

The newly formed unit will initially focus on securing the country's critical IT infrastructure in the finance, energy, water and transportation sectors. It will also work to raise the level of readiness for a cyber attack against the country and create a process for reporting, escalating and monitoring security incidents.

From next year, SITSA will hold regular exercises to practice its response to a cyber attack, Shanmugam said.

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