College of Liberal Arts
National cybersecurity and cyberdefense policy snapshots
Place of Publication
Center for Security Studies
1. Key national trends
Singapore is a small but highly developed state in Southeast Asia. Due to historical antecedent and resources competition with its neighbors, it is actively developing both its hard and soft power. More specifically, it is focused on building a Smart Nation and establishing itself as the most highly networked state in the world. This has, however, come at the cost of making Singapore increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks, which has translated into making cybersecurity a critical national security issue
2. Key policy principles
The Singaporean approach to cybersecurity has evolved from a purely state focused one towards a both comprehensive and holistic one. Specifically, it focuses on four main pillars: 1) fostering resilience of Critical Information Infrastructures; 2) creating a safe cyberspace through whole of society measures, which include cybercrime prevention and public private partnerships; 3) developing a vibrant cybersecurity architecture through capacity building, education, R&D and supporting start-up ecosystems; 4) pursue international cooperation, notably with ASEAN.
Singapore does not have a dedicated cyberdefense strategy but its initiatives in this area are subsumed within the 2016 Cybersecurity Strategy that is aligned with the state’s Total Defense strategy, which requires all sectors of society to develop a robust and proactive capability to respond to national security threats. As such, the core cyberdefense principles are purely defensive in nature with a focus on the protection of its key governmental and military infrastructures and sector by the recently created Defense Cyber Organization (DCO).
3. Key national framework
The organizational structure of the Singaporean cybersecurity is centralized around the Cyber Security Agency (CSA), which is co-managed by the Prime minister’s office and the ministry of Communication and information. This agency is responsible for supervising cybersecurity policy, operation, education, outreach, and ecosystem development in Singapore at all level of government.
The Defense Cyber Organization of the Singaporean defense forces leads the efforts in securing networks and systems across the Defense Sector and its Defense Cluster. It is notably in charge of providing situational threat awareness, developing cyberdefense capabilities and ensuring resilience of military infrastructure. As such, it closely cooperates and supports its civilian counterparts, such as the CSA.
4. Level of partnership and resources
Singapore cybersecurity and cyberdefense partnerships revolve mainly, at regional level, with ASEAN (e.g. crisis response and reporting mechanisms, cybercrime) and, at the international level, with partners such as France and the US with whom it has signed Memorandum of Understandings to strengthen national cyber capabilities. In addition, Singapore also actively promotes private sector partnership, R&D and involvement in cybersecurity through the establishment of dedicated PPPs, such as the Partnership for the Advancement of the Cybersecurity Ecosystem (PACE).
Domingo, F. C. (2019). Singapore. National cybersecurity and cyberdefense policy snapshots Retrieved from https://animorepository.dlsu.edu.ph/faculty_research/3213
Asian Studies | International and Area Studies
Computer security--Singapore; Cyber intelligence (Computer security)