The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) have concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Operational Technology (OT) security for critical infrastructure today. The MOU was signed by Defence Cyber Chief Brigadier-General (BG) Mark Tan and SUTD Associate Provost for Research & International Relations Professor Yeo Kiat Seng at SUTD on the sidelines of the Critical Infrastructure Security Showdown (CISS) exercise. The MOU formalises the partnership between MINDEF and SUTD on OT security and will strengthen collaboration in areas including research and technology, threat modelling, training and expertise development.
The MOU underscores MINDEF's and the Singapore Armed Forces' (SAF) commitment to build up cybersecurity expertise and capabilities against potential OT cyber threats. Recent cyberattacks on critical infrastructure such as fuel pipelines and power distribution systems are stark reminders of the increasingly sophisticated cyber threats that countries face. To this end, MINDEF/SAF is working with partners from academia and industry to collaborate in cybersecurity research and technology.
Highlighting the importance of this milestone, BG Tan said, "MINDEF/SAF recognises the importance of working with key partners like SUTD to keep pace with the latest developments in cybersecurity research and technology. This MOU will formalise our collaboration with SUTD to harness their strengths in cybersecurity research to enhance our own capability development projects. It will also support the training and education of our cyber personnel who are tasked to defend our digital borders."
On the partnership with MINDEF, Professor Yeo said, "SUTD is pleased to collaborate with MINDEF/SAF on OT security for critical infrastructure. The SUTD iTrust Centre for Research in Cyber Security (iTrust)'s state-of-the-art critical infrastructure testbeds enable complex simulations of cyberattacks and consequently the development of defences to mitigate such acts. Under the MOU, we will also help to conduct research and groom the next generation of cyber experts who can help defend our nation's critical infrastructure."
The CISS, held this year from 3 to 17 September 2021, is an OT cybersecurity exercise co-organised by the SAF and SUTD iTrust. The online exercise involved local and international participants from academia and the public and private sectors. Both the MOU and the organisation of CISS 2021 are part of MINDEF/SAF's continued commitment to work with various partners to strengthen its capabilities in Information Technology (IT) and OT cybersecurity.