Singapore Banks to Get Cybersecurity GrantsMonetary Authority of Singapore Will Collaborate on Building Skills
The Monetary Authority of Singapore has announced the launch of Cybersecurity Capabilities grants, worth a total of 30 million Singapore dollars (US$22 million), to support developing advanced cybersecurity functions at Singapore-based financial institutions.
The grants, funded under the Financial Sector Technology and Innovation scheme, will fund up to 50 percent of qualifying expenses, capped at S$3 million for each project, for financial institutions to establish global or regional cybersecurity centers of excellence in Singapore.
"The grants will support financial institutions with key global or regional cybersecurity functions and operations in Singapore to expand and deepen their cybersecurity capabilities locally," says Tan Yeow Seng, chief cybersecurity officer at MAS.
"The Singapore financial sector has made significant progress in recent years in building cyber resilience and managing cyber risk," he says. "The cyber threat landscape continues to evolve, and we must constantly strengthen our cyber capabilities. The Cybersecurity Capabilities Grants will support financial institutions in advancing their cybersecurity technology and manpower needs."
Singapore banks can leverage the grants to provide cybersecurity-related training programs and help attract more cybersecurity professionals, expanding the local talent pool in the financial sector.
Among the projects that can qualify for the new grant program are security operations, cyber threat surveillance and intelligence gathering, computer forensics, malware research and analysis, and cyber threat hunting.
Applications for the grants are now being accepted.
MAS has been taking a collaborative approach in helping financial institutions build a cybersecure ecosystem.
In one initiative, MAS partnered with the Asia Pacific Regional Intelligence and Analysis Center to encourage regional sharing and analysis of cybersecurity information within the financial services sector (see: New APAC Center to Coordinate Threat Info Sharing).
Sopendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer at MAS, claims that partnership will bolster the quality and timeliness of cyber threat intelligence received by financial institutions, strengthen cybersecurity risk management and response as well as champion cybersecurity programs and initiatives in the APAC region.
MAS also created the Cyber Security Advisory Panel, comprising thought leaders from around the world. CSAP advises MAS on strategies needed to augment the cyber resilience of Singapore's financial sector. It also provides MAS perspectives on evolving technologies and on cyber threats, highlighting their implications for financial services.
MAS also recently proposed requiring financial institutions to implement six security measures to better guard against cyberattacks (see: Security Requirements for Singapore Banks Proposed).
The objective is to strengthen the overall readiness of all financial institutions to address cyber threats by delineating a clear and common cybersecurity waterline for the financial industry.
"Cyber breaches are often the result of insecure system configurations or compromised system accounts," Seng says. "The measures, which are already part of the existing MAS Technology Risk Management Guidelines, are aimed at enhancing the security of FIs' systems and networks as well as mitigating the risk of unauthorized use of system accounts with extensive access privileges."
Lena Ng, Singapore-based counsel and consultant at Clifford Chance, a risk management firm, observes: "The Monetary Authority of Singapore works with Personal Data Protection Committee in determining risk and puts in place regulations that facilitate disclosure of information that consumers could rely on in making financial decisions, which is a good sign."