The Inauguration of Microsoft Transparency Centre and Cybersecurity Centre - Speech by Minister K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law

Published: 04 October 2016

Ms Toni Townes-Whitley


Ms Jessica Tan




Ladies and Gentlemen,




1. Thank you for inviting me here today - to the inauguration of this Centre: The Microsoft Transparency Centre & Cybersecurity Centre, for Asia Pacific. This is Microsoft's fourth regional transparency centre, with other centres in USABelgium, and China.


2. In the first place, as you heard from Jessica, Microsoft has co-located a transparency centre with a cybersecurity centre. Cybersecurity, I understand. Transparency – I asked her because being a politician right now; transparency in terms of tax returns – What has Microsoft got to do with that? So she explained what it meant.


Growing cyber threat


3. We live in a world that is increasingly interconnected – it is a cliché – and more and more digital. You cannot imagine a world without being digital and without being interconnected. Tremendous opportunities as a result but there are also tremendous risks: To governments, businesses, as well as individuals.


4. If you look at the risks, Fortinet is a global leader in network security. And Fortinet estimates that every minute, there are 500, 000 cyber-attacks, every single minute[1]. You read about the high profile attacks. Last December, there was an attack on Ukraine's power grid which left 225, 000 residents without power for several hours[2]. And of course the attack on the Bangladeshi Central Bank while in an attempt to take out US 1 billion dollars through New York from Bangladesh's Central Bank's Account. Eventually US 81 million dollars was taken out, routed to the Philippines unrecovered, or mostly unrecovered[3].


5. Just two examples. If you look at the UK today, cybercrimes have overtaken physical crimes. Likewise in Singapore, we are bringing down crime in all other areas but cybercrimes are shooting up.


Singapore's efforts to combat cybercrime


6. Every day, everywhere, something is happening. And the Singapore Government, like others, we have been targeted as well. So we intend to become a Smart Nation, there is no other way. And at the same time, we need to level up on our fight against cyber threats. 


7. So in July this year, we launched the National Cybercrime Action Plan (NCAP), and that sets out our strategies in combating cybercrime. And there are four priorities: 


8. First, educating and empowering the public to stay safe in cyberspace. That is a difficult task. Second, enhancing the Government's capacity and capability to combat cybercrime. Third, strengthening the legislative and judicial framework to deal with this and fourth, quite crucially, having good partnerships and international engagements. 


9. Cybercrime is growing in complexity, in sophistication across borders. While the Government has the expertise, it does not have all the expertise. Partnerships with private sector has become essential. And we have to work with international organisations like Interpol, and industry leaders like Microsoft.  


10. We also host the Interpol Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI). One of the key focus' of the Interpol office here is to focus on cybercrime on the internet.  The launch of Microsoft's new facility here is both timely and very positive in times of respite. It is good for us and it is good for the Asia-Pacific region. This can help bring about innovation, collaboration and information sharing. And help us strengthen cybersecurity for businesses, governments and individuals. 


11. So we look forward to possibilities of deepening our partnership with Microsoft as well as others. So congratulations and thank you for inviting me. Thank you.


[1] Source: http://www.cnbc.com/2015/12/28/biggest-cybersecurity-threats-in-2016.html


[2] Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-35686493


[3] Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-cyber-heist-bangladesh-philippines-ex-idUSKCN10D0B5


Managing Security Threats