“There’s no such thing as absolute cyber security – the only secure computer is the one that’s still in a box,” said David Koh, commissioner of cyber security in Singapore and chief executive of the Singapore Cyber Security Agency (CSA), which oversees Singapore’s cyber security strategy and operations. Koh’s comment sums up the ideal cyber security stance needed in post-pandemic Singapore.
The country’s prominent tech sector makes the island nation a prime target for cyber attacks in Southeast Asia. Interpol records show that Singapore witnessed the highest number of ransomware attacks among ASEAN countries and experienced 54 percent of all business email compromise incidents in the region. And the COVID-19 outbreak hasn’t made it any easier for the CSA.
In a recent roundtable discussion, Koh highlighted how the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way people, governments and industries operate—all of which happened in a very short space of time. He also outlined CSA’s strategy to help the country defend against rising cyber attacks. As an early adopter of emerging technologies and being quick to spot changes in the threat landscape, Singapore could serve well for other countries to take a leaf out of its cyber resilience playbook.
Waking up to the new normal
Owing to the sudden shift in routine caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Koh recounted how organizations have had to employ new technologies overnight. A lot of these new technologies are less secure, or less securely deployed, compared to traditional systems.