If you are updated with the current events, you would know that the country has suffered a serious data breaching this year. The unfortunate event compromised the personal data of 1.5 million healthcare patients including the data of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. These patients are under SingHealth – the country’s largest group of healthcare institutions spanning various clinical specialties, public hospitals, specialty centers, polyclinics, and community hospitals.
Similar stories of data breaching in other sectors have been reported in other parts of the world. Imagine how vulnerable a financial institution can be once its clients’ data has been breached!
With the increasing use of technology in global banking, Singapore needs to combat money laundering and online unlawful acts. I, for one, am vigilant when it comes to checking my balance after a transaction or an online purchase. Fortunately for us, the Singapore government and the financial institutions thought of ways to tackle the situation.
Firstly, the government acknowledged the importance of cybersecurity to financial institutions. Hence, it has signaled its willingness to ease some restrictions on importing talents for the financial-technology industry. The authorities are aware of the talent shortages. That said, financial institutions can either train or upgrade the skills of its existing employees or hire foreign talents who are experts in the field.
Secondly, the Monetary Authority of Singapore offered financial institutions access to a S$30 million grant. This funds can be used to boost their cybersecurity skill-sets and related operations. It is under the country’s Financial Sector Technology and Innovation Scheme, the grant facilitating the development of advanced cybersecurity functions such as computer forensics, malware research, and cyber threat surveillance. The funds could be tapped to cover up to 50% of a financial institution’s qualified cybersecurity expenses, with a cap of S$3 million.
Lastly, local banks can exhaust its current resources to provide cybersecurity services. For instance, three major banks in Singapore have started using artificial intelligence and data analytics to help enhance the detection of illicit cash flows. These banks are DBS, OCBC, and UOB.
We cannot deny that cyber threats continue to evolve throughout the years. Thus, it is highly encouraged for the financial sector to strengthen their cybersecurity capabilities to keep us safe.