Collaborative eco-system needed to fight cybercrime: Desmond Lee

“The fight against cybercrime cannot be fought by governments alone. A collaborative ecosystem- involving the community, industry, academia and governments – is crucial to tackling this formidable threat,” asserted Desmond Lee, Second Minister for Home Affairs while speaking at the INTERPOL World 2017 convention organised at Suntec International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

He also urged the public and private sectors to work together to understand and address cyber threats. This convention brought law enforcement, government bodies, security professionals and academia to discuss safety and security issues.

Public and private sectors should work together to understand and address cyber threats.
Public and private sectors should work together to understand and address cyber threats. Photo courtesy: saama

The convention comes on the backdrop of a new global ransomware outbreak – called NotPetya, which crippled businesses in the banking, energy and transport sectors. In May, the WannaCry ransomware attack affected computer networks in more than 150 countries.

Lee said, “As terrorists and criminals look to integrate technology and innovation in their modus operandi, policing in the future will increasingly rely on technology and data analytics to fight terrorism, cybercrime, organised and emerging crime.”

The Minister also revealed that the Ministry of Home Affairs has recently established a Special Interest Group for Cybercrime and Investigation, in collaboration with the Singapore Cyber Security Consortium.

He said, “Through this initiative, we can bring real-world cybercrime and investigation challenges to the academia and industry, and leverage on their talents and innovation to deal with cybercrime.”

Speaking about educating the public on cyber safety, Lee said, “The Singapore Police Force actively reaches out to the public to encourage safe online behaviour and to reduce opportunities for cybercriminals. These are customised to better target more vulnerable groups in society, such as the young and the elderly.”

Desmond Lee, Second Minister for Home Affairs
Desmond Lee, Second Minister for Home Affairs of Singapore. Photo courtesy:

He also informed that the police have also been promoting the No More Ransom project, which helps ransomware victims retrieve encrypted data without paying ransom. More than 10,000 ransomware victims worldwide have used tools on the project’s online portal to decrypt their affected devices.

To expand the reach of the project, the online content is being translated into Chinese, Malay and Tamil, Mr Lee said.

He also informed that Singapore is stepping up international cooperation with security agencies and partner countries to fight cybercrime.

In February, an INTERPOL-led operation targeting cybercrime across ASEAN member states identified nearly 9,000 compromised servers and hundreds of malware-infected sites. Investigations are ongoing.