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MAS panel on cybersecurity meets, discusses ways to protect financial sector

THE Monetary Authority of Singapore's (MAS) Cyber Security Advisory Panel (CSAP) feels that strong basic cyber hygiene practices are fundamental in securing cyber resilience.

The CSAP was set up in September this year with a mandate to advise the MAS on strategies to enhance the cyber resilience of Singapore's financial sector.

At its inaugural meeting, over Thursday and Friday, CSAP's discussion covered areas ranging from regulatory guidance, supervision, and surveillance to information sharing and capability development.

CSAP members suggested that it was important to strengthen the competency and capability of the boards of financial institutions to exercise effective oversight of cyber risk management. The members stressed on the importance of conducting realistic penetration tests, including "red-teaming". Red-teaming is the use of a red-team (a team of ethical hackers) to continuously test for weaknesses in an organisation's people, processes and technology by adopting a hacker's mindset.

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Acknowledging the challenge posed by the voluminous information that is collated in monitoring for cyber incidents, CSAP members advocated the use of data analytics and machine learning to make sense of the information. The members emphasised the importance of timely information sharing by financial institutions with regard to cyber incidents and developments.

Ravi Menon, managing director, MAS, who chaired the CSAP meeting, said: "It was a rich and engaging discussion. The meeting provided MAS an opportunity to validate its strategy for strengthening cyber resilience in the financial sector and to identify areas where we need to do more. We are grateful to CSAP members for their sharp insights and helpful suggestions."

David Koh, chief executive, Cyber Security Agency of Singapore, and a member of the CSAP, said: "The creation of the CSAP is a laudable initiative by MAS. The panel brings together distinguished individuals from around the world, with a rich and diverse range of experience and expertise in the cybersecurity, banking and finance domains."

The CSAP also met members of The Association of Banks in Singapore's Standing Committee on Cyber Security, comprising chief information security officers from key financial institutions. They exchanged views on technological developments in the financial sector, such as fintech and artificial intelligence, and cyber security challenges faced by the industry.

CSAP members also met Deputy Prime Minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, chairman of MAS, and exchanged views on developing talents and capabilities in cybersecurity.

The CSAP will convene again in 2018 for its next annual meeting.