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New cyber security Masterplan for Operational Technologies launched to protect critical sectors

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This OT Cybersecurity Masterplan was announced by Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean on Tuesday at the opening of the fourth Singapore International Cyber Week.

[SINGAPORE] Defence against cyber attacks that can cripple Singapore's water supply, transportation network and its other operational technology (OT) systems will be bolstered with a series of focused cyber security efforts that will grow the talent pool and facilitate the exchange of information between the public and private sectors.

This OT Cybersecurity Masterplan was announced by Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean on Tuesday at the opening of the fourth Singapore International Cyber Week.

OT systems are those that operate critical infrastructure services with interconnected devices and computers such as those in the energy, water, transport and media sectors.

Mr Teo, who is also the Coordinating Minister for National Security, pointed out that attacks on OT systems are among the most pressing of cyber threats today. He gave an example of how Ukraine suffered a cyber attack on its power network in December 2015 that caused almost 250,000 people to lose power in the middle of winter.

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This new Masterplan, developed by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) and industry partners, is a response to the serious danger OT attacks pose, added Mr Teo.

He said the Masterplan will guide the development of capabilities to secure systems in the OT environment, and mitigate emerging OT cyber threats.

CSA said on Tuesday that this plan, which will be made available on its website, will outline efforts to provide OT cyber security training to develop talent in this sector.

Under the plan, a new OT Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Analysis Centre will be set up together with threat-intelligence hub Global Resilience Federation. There are no details of this centre yet.

The agency added that the Masterplan will include procedures for OT organisations to attain an OT Cybersecurity Code of Practice, which will strengthen their policies and processes to better defend themselves against cyber threats.

The agency said that, in the past, OT systems were not designed with robust cyber security considerations, which makes it dangerous now, given how many of these systems are now interconnected.

A cyber attack on such systems could have dire consequences like mass disruptions, physical harm or even death, the agency added.

To combat these kinds of online threats, cooperation with domestic stakeholders is needed, and Mr Teo held up the OT Cybersecurity Masterplan as an example of such collaboration.

The Masterplan is a good example of strong Government-industry partnership can strengthen the country's national cyber security defences, he said.

Held at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre, the Singapore International Cyber Week runs until Thursday.

It will see policy-makers, business leaders, industry experts and academia from around the world gathering in Singapore to discusscollaboration and cyber security trends and challenges, and showcase innovations.

THE STRAITS TIMES