ASEAN countries have agreed to draw up a formal regional cyber security mechanism to decide on cyber diplomacy, policy and operational issues, said the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore.
The decision was taken by ministers from all 10 ASEAN member states at the recent third ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity (AMCC), chaired by Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information and Minister-in-charge of Cyber Security, Mr S Iswaran. The AMCC took place during the Singapore International Cyber Week 2018.
The decision follows through on the directions ASEAN leaders had given at the 32nd ASEAN Summit in April, to better coordinate regional cyber security efforts, the CSA added in its statement.
It was recommended that the proposed mechanism should be flexible and also take into account multiple dimensions, including economic considerations.
The AMCC also reaffirmed the importance of a rules-based cyberspace as an enabler of economic progress and betterment of living standards.
International law, voluntary and non-binding norms of state behaviour, and practical confidence building measures are essential for stability and predictability in cyberspace, said the ministers.
Centre of Excellence to be set up
Against the backdrop of rising number of cyber attacks, Singapore will also expand the existing ASEAN Cyber Capacity Programme (ACCP) by setting up an ASEAN-Singapore Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence (ASCCE), its Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean announced in his speech at the Cyber Week.
The ASCCE’s three broad objectives will be to strengthen ASEAN members’ cyber strategy development, legislation and research capabilities, train national Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) in the region, increasing their technical expertise and cyber incident response skills and promote CERT-to-CERT open-source information sharing.
“The more digital and connected our societies and economies become, the more important it is to secure our systems.The fight to secure our cyberspace is particularly challenging as it is asymmetric. It is easy for malicious actors to hide their identity, carry out their attacks across borders, and cause severe disruptions in essential services that disproportionately impact millions,” said Mr Teo.
“This is why it is important for us to work together - countries, governments, businesses and citizens - to pool our resources and strengthen our collective defences against this common threat.”
The ACCP was seeded two years ago by Singapore with a contribution of S$10m ($7.3m) to deepen the region’s cyber capabilities and to enhance its ability to respond to emerging cyber threats.