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1 SPEECH Visit for more news and information about MINDEF and the SAF SPEECH BY MINISTER OF STATE FOR DEFENCE DR MOHAMAD MALIKI BIN OSMAN, AT THE CYBER DEFENDERS DISCOVERY CAMP AWARDS CEREMONY 2015, 22 JUN 2015 AT THE SINGAPORE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY AND DESIGN Permanent Secretary (Defence), Distinguished guests, Participants of the Cyber Defenders Discovery Camp 2015, Ladies and gentlemen, Good afternoon. I am delighted to be here at the Cyber Defenders Discovery Camp Awards Ceremony today. This is the third run of the camp and a record 323 students from 22 schools took part this year. This is actually three times of what we had in previous years. Cybersecurity and its growing importance The increased interest and participation at this year s event is a reflection of just how important cybersecurity is in our society today.

2 Aptly so, when advances in modern technology have transformed the way we live, work and play. Technology has begun to severely affect the quality of human interaction. It is not uncommon to see families sitting at a dinner table not speaking to one another as members are busy on their respective mobile devices. In fact, technology has become so pervasive that we are normally unaware of the many interconnected IT systems that operate in the background. We only notice when things start to go wrong. We therefore need to ensure that critical infrastructures, such as those in the telecoms, banking and energy sectors, are robust against attacks and disruption as the consequences could be devastating if they malfunction. I had a recent encounter of cyber hacking. My wife received a call from a local bank who asked if she had made a recent transaction in US dollars. When she replied in the negative, she was informed that the bank had cancelled her account temporarily as there were abnormal activities taking place in her account and they suspected that it was hacked. At the larger societal level, any such attacks could have significant consequences. For example, attacks on hospital IT systems could result in the loss of innocent lives. An attack on our power grid could cut off power supply to large sections of the country, much like a power blackout, and wreak havoc on both our lives and economy. These are not mere hypothetical conjunctures. In 2008, a 14-year-old Polish teenager managed to hack into his city s public transport network. Using a modified TV remote control, he turned the tram system into his own personal train set, triggering chaos and derailing four vehicles in the process. Closer to home, some of you may be aware of the K Box hacking incident which happened in September last year, where personal information of

3 over 300,000 customers were stolen and posted online. This included their names, addresses, mobile phone and identification card numbers. We used to think such incidents could happen only in movies or other countries, but unfortunately they are real and even happened in Singapore. So imagine what the consequences are when those who wish us harm take to cyberspace! This is the very basis of hybrid warfare, that actions in cyberspace and other nonconventional areas can be employed to undermine a country and bring it down. Today s environment facilitates these actions the rapid proliferation of technologies, the low barriers to entry, and the sophistication that can be achieved by small, widely dispersed groups. And the boundaries we are accustomed to guarding will expand exponentially. Technology is progressing at a rapid pace and will become even more pervasive in our lives. Our environment and the things around us will become increasingly connected and autonomous in a trend commonly referred to as the Internet of Things. Last November, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong outlined his vision of how such new technologies will transform Singapore into a Smart Nation. In the not too distant future, we will see autonomous smart cars which can drive and park themselves. We will have smart homes filled with Internet-enabled appliances that can be controlled remotely when you are outdoors or even overseas. We will see smart schools. Even as we speak, the Ministry of Education has been working with eight schools under the project to integrate infocomm technology seamlessly and pervasively in their administrative

4 practices, and enable innovative educational programmes. It would not be surprising if these schools develop into models of smart schools for the rest of the schools in Singapore. Increased connectivity means that we will also become more open to cyber attackers. Cybersecurity is the foundation to realise our Smart Nation vision, and in this vein, a new Cyber Security Agency was recently formed to oversee all national cybersecurity functions, working closely with the private sector as well. Cybersecurity is equally critical to our military. On 1 July, the SAF will celebrate its 50 th anniversary, marking its transformation from a rudimentary military in the 1960s to a networked, integrated fighting force of the 21 st century. The nature of warfare has also changed in tandem, from battles fought in physical space to battles today in cyberspace. The SAF will need to continually evolve to become smarter, sharper and stronger to overcome new threats in today s digital age, and we welcome you to the Defence Technology Community, to innovate and strengthen our defence systems. Cyber threats are, by nature, difficult to pre-empt and eliminate. Firstly, attackers can stay anonymous in cyberspace and launch attacks from anywhere in the world. Secondly, unlike physical attacks using bombs or missiles, it is easy to acquire the resources needed for a cyberattack. All they need is a computer and good programming skills and attackers can start developing malware. There are even online cyber black markets where hackers can buy malware, botnet armies and zero-day vulnerabilities.

5 Cultivating Singapore s future cyber defenders Singapore is staying ahead of the curve by strengthening our cyber defence capabilities. One key area is in increasing our cyber defence workforce and their skillsets. But we cannot rely on physical numbers alone to defend ourselves as attackers in cyberspace can potentially outnumber us by many orders of magnitude. We need cyber defenders who are smart and innovative. They have to be innovative in developing novel cyber defence tactics, and smart in using technology to increase their effectiveness, such as by using analytics and intelligent algorithms to rapidly detect suspicious patterns in massive data sets. We organised this camp to search for the best and brightest to be Singapore s future cyber defenders. From the many smiling faces in the video just now, I can see how much you have enjoyed the camp. You have survived the cyber crash course and tested your skills in the competition to challenge and stretch your creativity and cyber problem solving skills. The camp would have given you an appetizer an overview of IT system vulnerabilities, how to detect and defend against common modes of cyberattacks, and experience what it would be like to be a

6 cyber defender. I heard there were many thrilling and exciting moments during the tournament. In real life, it gets even more challenging and exciting. You will not know who and how many attackers there are, and when they will launch their attacks. There will be numerous simultaneous scenarios to contend with. Is the attack real or just a smokescreen so that they can attack you elsewhere? Are they probing your defences in preparation for something larger later? How can you outsmart the attackers, without them even knowing? We need the best cyber defence engineers to keep Singapore safe against future cyber threats. We need the best talents to keep our cyberspace safe 24/7. The career of a cyber defender is filled with exciting challenges. New security threats emerge with every new technology introduced. Recognising the importance and potential of cybersecurity, our local universities offer many cybersecurity-related courses in their curriculum. In fact, NUS and SIT have taken a step further and are introducing undergraduate degree programmes in Information Security. And the campus that we are in today, SUTD, has an Information Systems Technology and Design course which equips graduates with relevant cybersecurity skills. Moving forward, there are plans to benchmark cybersecurity specialisations against international standards, introduce new cybersecurity degrees at the Bachelor and Master levels and expand class sizes of related electives and courses.

7 And if you aspire to be a cybersecurity professional, follow the footsteps of Elvin Poh Yiliang, a participant of the inaugural CDDC back in 2012, who joined DSTA after he graduated. 27- year-old Elvin is now a cyber defence engineer at DSTA s Cybersecurity Programme Centre, and has developed and set up a lab that trains our soldiers on how to protect our defence systems. Finally, my heartiest congratulations to all participants who have completed the CDDC and to our award winners. You have taken the first step into the world of cyber defence. I look forward to seeing you as Singapore s cyber defence engineers in the near future. Thank you.

SPEECH. Visit http://www.mindef.gov.sg for more news and information about MINDEF and the SAF

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