Australia & Singapore sign cybersecurity cooperation pact


Representatives from Australia and Singapore have signed a two-year agreement to cooperate on cybersecurity, including a commitment to share incident and threat reports as well as joint security training.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed in Singapore as part of the 2nd Singapore-Australia Leaders’ Summit, witnessed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Singapore’s Cyber Security Agency (CSA) – the city-state’s dedicated agency for cybersecurity strategy, education and systems development – will head the initiative.

The agreement will include regular information exchanges on cybersecurity incidents and threats, the sharing of best practices to promote innovation in cybersecurity, training in cybersecurity skillsets, joint cybersecurity exercises, with a focus on the protection of Critical Information Infrastructure, as well as collaboration on regional cyber capacity building and confidence building measures, according to the CSA.

The Singapore-Australia agreement is the sixth such bilateral MOU established by the CSA, following commensurate pacts secured with France, India, the Netherlands, UK, and the United States.

CSA chief executive and signatory to the MOU, David Koh said the agreement would create a mutually beneficial cybersecurity initiative that creates a ‘safe zone’ that nurtures economic and social development across the two countries.

“Singapore and Australia share close bilateral relations and both countries have a shared vision that cybersecurity is an enabler which supports innovation, economic growth and social development,” Koh said.

“This MOU shows our commitment to work together to build a secure and resilient cyberspace that will contribute to the progress of both countries.”

The Singapore government has been aggressively pursuing cybersecurity initiatives in light of a spate of cyberattacks targeting government servers (including a recent breach of the country’s Ministry of Defence, which saw the release of civil servants’ and soldiers’ personal data).

In March 2017, the government announced plans to establish a cybersecurity command centre, tasked with boosting the country’s cyber defences. The command centre will be run around the clock, manned by 2,600 troops from the Singapore Armed Forces.