New partnerships are needed to establish new codes of practice and norms for technologies that are becoming ready for deployment, but where there are no international standards, said Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.
Mr Teo issued this clarion call while delivering a keynote address at the recent inaugural Singapore Defence Technology Summit, where industry leaders, government officials and researching discussed how emerging technologies can impact society and the defence and security landscape.
In his speech, he addressed three sets of issues which affect security, arising from the 4th Industrial Revolution—the opportunities, new vulnerabilities and the new partnerships to seize the opportunities, deal with the vulnerabilities, and address governance issues.
He noted that with economies becoming more integrated and connected digitally, governments, companies and academia need to form partnerships to better address issues that cut across sectors and national boundaries. For example, more government and widely-used commercial services and data are now hosted by Amazon Web Services, Alibaba, Google or Microsoft not just for storage, but software as a service, to reap economies of scale and the most up-to-date software tools and capabilities.
“The more interconnected we are, and the more we rely on key nodes and critical information infrastructure, the higher the concentration risks. These can result in not just a local disruption, but potentially a system-wide global one,” he said.
“Governments and companies therefore need to address this concentration risk and work together with the research community to develop solutions to tackle these evolving vulnerabilities.“
In Singapore’s case, the country has been ramping up cybersecurity defences, such as through conducting a national exercise covering all critical information infrastructure sectors – from aviation and energy, to banking and healthcare for the first time last year. Singapore also offers several testbeds because of its ‘scale, size and compactness’.
“We look forward to working with our international partners to better understand how to deal with attacks not just on national systems, but globally interconnected systems – for example, the global financial system or cross-border trading or transport systems by air traffic control,” said Mr Teo.