SINGAPORE – The menace of a cyber assault on Singapore’s critical infrastructure companies stays low but the maritime sector has been in the cross hairs of hackers, members of a global panel appointed by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) stated.

In an interview with The Straits Times final week, Mr Kazuo Yamaoka stated hackers have in current years used more and more refined instruments to goal operational expertise systems which run critical infrastructure companies, corresponding to these in the vitality, water and transport sectors.

The systems management every little thing from the electrical energy grid, visitors gentle controls, train-signalling systems and even sensors detecting the chemical content material in ingesting water.

There have been cyber assaults on energy firms in Ukraine in 2015 and 2016 that brought on energy outages, famous Mr Yamaoka, the senior answer architect at NTT Security Japan, Japanese telco NTT’s info safety arm.

In 2017, hackers attacked a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia with the intent to trigger an explosion that would kill folks, and never simply shut it down.

That assault failed due to a glitch.

More just lately in February, a hacker tried and failed to poison the water provide in Florida, United States, after accessing a water plant’s controls.

“Considering the situation in other countries, we believe that operational technology cyber security threats in Singapore are relatively low at present,” stated Mr Yamaoka, who has experience in utilities and operational expertise and industrial automation systems in factories and crops.

“At present, the damage created by (such) cyber attacks… has not surfaced in Singapore. However it’s important that businesses do not become complacent and should ensure they have an effective incident response or business continuity plan in place,” he added.

With cyber threats to operational expertise, particularly industrial management systems, growing in frequency and class, the CSA introduced on Monday (May 3) that it had established the Operational Technology Cybersecurity Expert Panel.

The panel will “strengthen local cyber security capabilities and competencies in the operational technology sector”, added the company.

Singapore’s operational expertise cyber safety practitioners, operators, researchers and coverage makers from the Government, critical info infrastructure (CII) sectors, academia and different operational expertise industries could have direct entry to the consultants.

The 11 panel members come from each private and non-private sectors, regionally and internationally. American Robert Lee is a member of the panel.

The chief government of US industrial cyber safety firm Dragos stated his agency had tracked a state-linked hacking group which has been focusing on the Singapore and Japan maritime sector and port authorities.

“They’re not to the point of causing physical impact and…trying to hurt people. But it’s early reconnaissance and you can tell that they are trying to go after industrial systems,” stated Mr Lee, who serves on the US Department of Energy’s Electricity Advisory Committee.

“But until we get more insight into those operational technology systems and networks, we won’t know the full picture.”

Better safety wanted

Mr David Koh, Commissioner of Cyber safety and CSA’s chief government, stated whereas operational expertise systems have been historically separated from the Internet, growing digitalisation has led to extra IT and operational expertise integration.

“Hence, it is crucial for operational technology systems to be better protected from cyber threats to prevent outages of critical services that could result in serious real-world consequences,” stated Mr Koh.

“To this end, we are glad to have notable operational technology experts join us in sharing their expertise to develop and strengthen localised capabilities in operational technology cyber security.”

CSA stated the consultants will talk about points starting from governance insurance policies and processes, evolving operational expertise applied sciences, rising tendencies, functionality improvement, provide chain, menace intelligence info sharing and incident response.

They will even advocate greatest practices to deal with cyber safety challenges and gaps in the sector.

During closed door one-to-one workshops, the consultants will share with incident response groups from stakeholders their insights primarily based on their very own expertise dealing with international cyber safety incidents.

The panel enhances CSA’s operational technology cyber security masterplan announced in 2019 to defend Singapore from cyber assaults on critical sectors like transport and water provide.

The plan goals to develop the expertise pool of cyber safety professionals and facilitate the trade of data between the private and non-private sectors.

Insights and proposals from the panel will assist form initiatives underneath the plan, corresponding to a code of apply and coaching programmes, stated CSA.

The 11 panel members are:

– Mr Christophe Blassiau from France, an government member of the WEF Cyber Resilience in Electricity and Oil and Gas Communities, and senior vice chairman for cyber safety and international chief info safety officer for Schneider Electric

– Mr Dale Peterson from the US, founder and programme chairman of S4 Events, and founder and chief government officer of Digital Bond

– Mr Eric Byres from the US, chief government officer of aDolus Technology, and senior accomplice at ICS Secure

– Mr Joel Thomas Langill from the US, a managing member of the Industrial Control System Cyber Security Institute, and founding father of Scadahacker

– Mr Kazuo Yamaoka from Japan, senior answer architect at NTT Security Japan

– Ms Maggy Powell from the US, principal trade specialist at Amazon Web Services

– Mr Marco Avala from the US, a director and industrial management system cyber safety and sector lead at 1898 & Co

– Dr Ong Chen Hui from Singapore, the cluster director for the BizTech Group on the Infocomm Media Development Authority

– Mr Robert Hannigan from Britain, the chairman of BlueVoyant

– Mr Robert Lee from the US, chief government officer and co-founder of Dragos

– Mr Zachary Tudor from the US, affiliate laboratory director on the Idaho National Laboratory’s National and Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate

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