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Working Together to Fight Cybercrime
How the ASEAN Senior Officials Roundtable on Cybercrime gives member-states a platform to share policy perspectives and best practices for combating cybercrime.

Theft, fraud, hacking, extortion, illicit surveillance and the distribution of prohibited materials – these are just some of the dangers posed by cybercriminals. To combat this urgent threat across the region, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) organises the ASEAN Senior Officials Roundtable on Cybercrime as a platform for member-states to learn the latest trends in this field as well as to share policy perspectives and best practices for fighting cybercrime. 

This year’s Roundtable was held on 25 July 2018 and also included delegates from China, Japan and South Korea. Among the MHA officers who helped ensure the session’s success was Samuel Sia; he took a moment from his busy schedule to share his reflections.

SORC 01 Senior Officials Roundtable on Cybercrime
Supporting the Roundtable: Samuel Sia, Senior Manager, Strategic Engagements, with the International Cooperation and Partnerships Division of MHA. PHOTO: Home Team News

Tell us about your current role and what you did at this year’s Roundtable. What were your responsibilities, and who did you work with?
I’m currently with the International Cooperation and Partnerships Division of MHA, and one of my responsibilities involves overseeing counter-terrorism initiatives spearheaded by INTERPOL

I was a member of the secretariat team for the Roundtable, which was organised in conjunction with the RSA Conference 2018, a major regional cyber-security event. Besides working with RSA on logistical matters, I was also in charge of inviting the ASEAN member-states and the Plus Three Dialogue Partners (China, Japan and South Korea) as well as liaising with our Home Team Departments, the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore

SORC 02 Senior Officials Roundtable on Cybercrime
A common front against cybercrime: Sharing sessions for delegates and industry experts at the Roundtable. PHOTOS: Home Team News[

What did you find challenging about working on the Roundtable?
This year, 34 senior foreign delegates from 11 countries and the ASEAN Secretariat attended the Roundtable. A key challenge for us was managing a very tight programme to ensure that the delegates’ time here was meaningful and productive. As a team, we had to coordinate closely to ensure that everything ran like clockwork.

Our programme this year included an overview of key cybercrime trends and threats by Mr Rohit Ghai, President, RSA; Mr Zulfikar Ramzan, Chief Technology Officer, RSA; and Dr Hugh Thompson, Chief Technology Officer, Symantec. We also had two sessions for senior delegates to discuss ways to enhance cooperation and build capabilities. Finally, the delegates participated in the launch of INTERPOL’s ASEAN Cyber Capability Desk. 

What was the highlight of the Roundtable for you?
It was the strong commitment shown by the delegates in continuing to build up capabilities to fight cybercrime. 

For example, did you know that the ASEAN Cyber Capability Desk at INTERPOL that was launched this year actually grew from an idea mooted during the fourth edition of the Roundtable in 2016? This is a good example of how Singapore can collaborate with INTERPOL and leverage on the expertise of its Global Complex on Innovation (which is based here) to train ASEAN officials and operationalise anti-cybercrime efforts.

Before joining MHA in November 2017, I completed both operational and planning roles at my parent agency, the Singapore Prison Service. I joined the Home Team because I was inspired by its mandate to keep Singapore safe and secure. Having served on the secretariat for the Roundtable, feel a sense of pride in the good work that MHA has done to fight cybercrime through regional cooperation.

  1. by Mike Tan
  2. 02 August 2018
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