The increased prevalence and sophistication of cyberattacks around the world has demonstrated the ever-evolving threats to Singapore's national security. Recent cyberattacks on critical infrastructure such as fuel pipelines and power distribution systems underscore the increasingly sophisticated cyber threats that countries face not only in the realm of Information Technology (IT), but also in Operational Technology (OT).
The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) have incorporated OT infrastructure and enhancements to drive projects such as the Republic of Singapore Air Force's Smart Airbase and MINDEF/SAF's energy-efficient buildings. To better defend these OT networks and infrastructure, MINDEF/SAF will strengthen its OT cyber defence capabilities by stepping up investments in this area and working with partners from academia and industry to collaborate in cybersecurity research and technology.
Collaboration with SUTD
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on OT security for critical infrastructure between MINDEF and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) will see both organisations partner to invest in the training and education of MINDEF/SAF's cyber defenders and in the development of OT cyber defence measures. The MOU highlights MINDEF/SAF's continued commitment to work with various partners to strengthen its cyber defence capabilities while contributing to the development of the OT cybersecurity ecosystem in Singapore.
The MOU will cement collaboration between MINDEF/SAF and the SUTD iTrust Centre for Research in Cyber Security (iTrust) in key areas including:
a. Research and Technology. iTrust will develop OT testbeds to enhance MINDEF/SAF's ability to test cyber defence measures and better understand vulnerabilities in OT systems.
b. Threat Modelling in OT security. iTrust will develop technologies to prevent, detect, and respond to advanced persistent threats in the OT environment. MINDEF/SAF and iTrust will also analyse emerging OT attacks and study the tactics, techniques and procedures employed by attackers.
c. Training. iTrust will serve as a provider of training and training infrastructure for OT security. MINDEF/SAF and iTrust will jointly organise cyber exercises (e.g., the Critical Infrastructure Security Showdown) to exchange cybersecurity expertise in OT and better understand the methods of malicious actors.
d. Expertise Development. Joint scholarships from MINDEF and SUTD may be awarded to selected personnel under the Command, Control, Communications and Computers Expert (C4X) vocation for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies to develop deep OT expertise.