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Update: New Singapore cyber security body to be set up

IN an effort to enhance Singapore's preparedness to tackle emerging cyber security threats, the government on Tuesday announced the setting up of a new agency to combat cyber attacks and formulate policy in this regard. The agency called the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) will start functioning from April 1 and will function on the aegis of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

The government also announced that Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister of Communications and Information will take additional charge as Minister-in-charge of Cyber Security, also from April 1.

Speaking to reporters, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said that cyber threats all around the world have become more salient in recent times. "Over the years we have been building up capabilities to tackle cyber threats in different agencies. We have had some in the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and some in Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and some in other places. So we have decided to bring all of them together into CSA."

CSA will take over the current functions of the Singapore Infocomm Technology Security Authority (Sitsa) as well as some cyber security functions from the IDA, such as SingCERT. Sitsa was set up in 2009 in MHA to safeguard Singapore against IT security threats.

The agency will be under the PMO and managed by the MCI (Ministry of Communications and Information). David Koh, deputy secretary for technology at the Ministry of Defence (Mindef), has been appointed as the chief executive of CSA. Mr Koh will assume his CSA and Mindef appointments concurrently.

CSA will start off with around 60 people, pulled mostly from Sitsa and IDA. Eventually it is expected to have a staff strength in the "hundreds" as it pulls in expertise to not only tackle cyber threats but to formulate long-term policy and future infocomm masterplans.