Singapore’s Countermeasure in Security Its Financial Sector

National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2017 – Steps to protect online community

It is time for central banks to take an active participation in combating cybercrime, especially countermeasures in detecting and stopping money laundering through the use of the Internet and modern devices by increasing the training fund for anti-cybercrime professionals. Of course, such lofty goals cannot be achieved free of charge, someone has to pay for it. That is what the Monetary Authority of Singapore did when they recently released IT security hardening fund to the tune of SG$30 million as an initial help for small players in the financial sector.

Dubbed the “Cybersecurity Capabilities Grant”, the said fund aims to finance the cybersecurity training and the minimum defense integrity of small players in the financial sector of Singapore. In the long run, this project’s goal is to enable small players to start their capable internal IT teams when it comes to securing their networks and computer installations. The capability for a small company to assess its risks, capabilities to respond to those risks on time and the skill of its workforce to recover from the cybersecurity emergency needs to improve in order to discourage threat actors from attacking them.

A financial institution with shallow funds for cybersecurity can tap on this grant, up to SG$3 million per company, for use with technical training and development of intrusion prevention systems, hardening their network against attacks.

“The Singapore financial sector has made significant progress in recent years in building up cyber resilience and managing cyber risk, but the cyber threat landscape continues to evolve and we have to constantly strengthen our cyber capabilities. The [grant] will support financial institutions in advancing their cybersecurity technology and manpower needs,” explained Tan Yeow Seng, Deputy Director of Monetary Authority of Singapore.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore had and continue to perform data analytics with the financial sector within the city-state, monitoring possible entry and exit of dirty money turned clean AKA money laundering. New techniques and steps are shared with the rest of the financial sector in order to help harden their financial systems.

“MAS strongly encourages the use of data analytics in anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism, which has the potential for bringing about transformative change in our approach to combating financial crime,” emphasized Ho Hern Shin, Assistant Managing Director of Monetary Authority of Singapore.

The tight coordination of MAS with Singapore’s police force in fighting not just money laundering but the spread of terrorist funds. The city-state is a model worthy emulation of for other countries in Southeast Asia. The basic building block of Singapore’s robust security arrangement is through massive data analytics. “Data analytics is an invaluable tool in identifying and preventing financial crime, by helping financial institutions sieve through the large volumes of data generated daily to identify suspicious transactions. The industry must be ever vigilant against the abuse of our financial system and we hope that the paper will encourage the industry to build robust data analytic capabilities to strengthen Singapore’s resilience against such threats,” concluded David Chew, Director of Singapore Police Force.


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