Singapore’s MAS to open cyber defense centre for finance

Regulator partners with international forum to share threat intelligence with banks.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced it will establish an Asia Pacific Regional Intelligence Centre to encourage the sharing of cybersecurity information among financial firms in the region. MAS is partnering with FS-ISAC, a US-based industry body for cyber and physical threat intelligence analysis, on the project. The intelligence centre, which will be based in Singapore, will open in the first half of 2017.

The new centre will hire analysts to gather intelligence and provide advice to financial firms on how to mitigate threats. It will also serve as  forum for banks, law enforcement and government agencies to collaborate and share information. The centre will sponsor internship programmes for university students in cyber security to build local talent, and it will provide a venue for cyber security events,.

FS-ISAC’s Asia-Pacific branch will be providing the centre’s staffing and infrastructure. Information gathered by the joint venture will only be shared among financial firms that are members of FS-ISAC, assuring that data is safely stored and not in violation of member operating rules, or regional requirements and existing legislation.

Bill Nelson, president and CEO of FS-ISAC said that reliable and timely access to threat intelligence is critical to the security of the financial sector: “Threats specifically targeting the financial sector span a wide range to include account takeovers, business email compromises, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and destructive malware.”

“FS-ISAC is dedicated to providing member firms in the region with the means to collect, analyse and mitigate risks through an industry collective threat intelligence analysis and sharing platform,” said Nelson. “This initiative enables financial firms both in the region as well as globally to develop an even stronger community defence model and will be an important resource to deliver deeper analysis, mitigate risks and encourage greater collaboration.”

“MAS believes that the establishment of FS-ISAC APAC Intelligence Centre will help to bolster the quality and timeliness of cyber threat intelligence received by financial institutions, strengthen cyber security risk management and response, as well as champion cybersecurity programmes and initiatives in the APAC region,” said Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer,  at MAS.

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