Singapore builds cyber security with new maritime centre

A new maritime centre has been launched to galvanise cyber security in the Singapore region.

The new centre opened yesterday, and is run by ST Engineering from its base in Ang Mo Kio. Experts say it will strengthen the city-state’s Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) in its stance against online crime on a global level.

Although operational since November 2018, the development is part of a wider Singapore programme to enhance maritime security by improving early detection systems and enhancing analysis processes to respond quicker and more effectively to cyber-attacks.

ST Engineering cyber-security systems president, Lau Thiam Beng underlined how the centre’s scalability and modular engineering meant new tech upgrades could be integrated with ease to help combat evolving risks on the cyber-crime landscape.

MPA chairman, Niam Chiang Meng, said:

“As the world’s busiest transshipment hub, it is important that we safeguard our maritime and port critical infrastructure to prevent a major disruption to port operations and delivery of services.”

Mr Meng underlined how the new centre will collaborate on data links with the MPA’s port operations control hub which supervises the navigational security of waterborne transport in the seas around Singapore.

MPA operations technology director, David Foo said that officials hope the first stage of the future Tuas port will be finalised by 2021. The port should bring port operations control and maritime cyber-security functionality together.

In justification for the new centre, Mr Foo pointed to the escalating number of cyber-attack threats in the maritime sphere, and the increasing levels of disruption they are causing.

In 2017, a ransomware cyber-attack on AP Moller-Maersk led to the container shipping firm losing up to US$300 million in revenue.

Mr Foo said:

“Cyber-attacks can also endanger the navigational safety of a ship and, of course, the lives on board.”

He went on to explain how the new centre would enable the MPA to conduct 24/7 operations to provide a far prompter and more thorough response to computer threats.

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