National Agencies Tackle Cyber Threats at Inaugural Cyber Defence Exercise; DIS and CSA Sign Joint Operations Agreement for Cyber Cooperation

National Agencies Tackle Cyber Threats at Inaugural Cyber Defence Exercise; DIS and CSA Sign Joint Operations Agreement for Cyber Cooperation



The Digital and Intelligence Service (DIS) organised the inaugural Critical Infrastructure Defence Exercise (CIDeX) from 15 to 16 November at the National University of Singapore (NUS) School of Computing. The cyber defence exercise involved over 100 participants from the DIS and 16 other national agencies across the Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) sectors[1]. Supported by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), iTrust[2]/SUTD and the National Cybersecurity R&D Laboratory (NCL), CIDeX is the largest Operational Technology (OT)[3] Critical Infrastructure defence exercise focused on training and strengthening Whole-Of-Government (WoG) cyber capabilities to detect and tackle cyber security threats to Information Technology (IT) and OT networks that control the operations of critical infrastructure.

Over the two days, participants from the Blue Teams, comprising participants from the national agencies as cyber defenders, defended the exercise’s digital infrastructure, which includes an enterprise IT network and three OT testbeds – replicating a water treatment plant, a water distribution plant and a power grid system – against live simulated cyber-attacks launched by a composite Red Team made up of DIS and CSA personnel. Exercise scenarios involved attacks on both the IT network and OT testbeds that aim to disrupt operations and impact way of life, such as poisoning the water treatment plant, ceasing water distribution and cutting off power supply. Participants sharpened instincts and technical competencies to defend cyber networks by leveraging cyber tools to monitor, detect and thwart cyber-attacks by the Red Team.

Prior to the exercise, the participants underwent a three-day hands-on training programme at the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)’s enhanced Cyber Defence Test and Evaluation Centre (CyTEC) at Stagmont Camp to develop and hone their cyber defence competencies.

A Joint Operations Agreement (JOA) between the DIS and CSA was signed on the sidelines of the exercise by Defence Cyber Chief (DCC) Brigadier-General (BG) Edward Chen and CSA’s Deputy Chief Executive (Development) Mr Gaurav Keerthi. The CSA-DIS JOA establishes a framework for cooperation and collaboration in the areas of joint operations and capability development that will contribute towards a secure national cyberspace.

Emphasising the need for close partnership in securing Singapore’s cyberspace, BG Chen said, "The DIS recognises the importance of fostering close cooperation with CSA and other national agencies in defending Singapore’s cyberspace. The Joint Operations Agreement between CSA and the DIS is an important step forward in institutionalising our ongoing collaboration and expanding our partnership in areas such as joint cyber training. By partnering on large-scale cyber exercises like CIDeX, we provide our national cyber defenders a platform to train together and strengthen our ability to protect our critical infrastructure systems in Singapore."

Mr Keerthi said, "Cybersecurity is a team effort, and CSA welcomes the Digital and Intelligence Service to this team. CSA has a longstanding partnership with MINDEF/SAF on national cyber defence. Exercises such as CIDeX ensure our collective preparedness for cyber incidents and emergencies. The CSA-DIS Joint Operations Agreement affirms SAF’s continued support in the defence of Singapore’s cyberspace."




[1] The 16 participating agencies are: Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA), Infocomm Media Development (IMDA), Land Transport Authority, M1, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Pavilion Energy, PUB, Sembcorp Industries, Senoko Energy, Singapore LNG (SLNG) Corporation, Singtel, SMRT Corporation, SP Group, ST Engineering, Tuas Power and YTL PowerSeraya.

[2] iTrust is a multidisciplinary research centre located at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) that was jointly established by SUTD and the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) in 2012.

[3] OT refers to hardware and software that monitor and control devices, processes and infrastructure. These include Industrial Control Systems (ICS), Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, safety instrumented systems, and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs).

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