The U.S. and Singapore expand cybersecurity cooperation in the financial and defense fields, with obvious intentions to counter China

The White House announced on August 23, local time, that the United States and Singapore announced three agreements to expand the scope of cooperation, including enhanced information sharing, research and training, to address global cybersecurity issues. The announcement came during the first leg of US Vice President Kamala Harris’ diplomatic visit to Asia. Harris and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong confirmed on August 23 that three “Memorandums of Understanding” have been signed between the United States and Singapore. In addition to the cybersecurity cooperation between CISA and CSA, there are also cybersecurity cooperation aimed at strengthening finance and defense. of the two agreements. The collaboration also adds to the focus on China, with Anne Newberg, deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technologies, recently confirming that the Biden administration is building an international consensus on countermeasures against Chinese cyber operations.

Strengthening cybersecurity cooperation in the financial sector

The agreement between the U.S. Treasury and Monetary Authority of Singapore “recognizes the importance of deepening cooperation in new areas to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” the Treasury said in a statement.

The agreement aims to strengthen bilateral cooperation by improving or adding the following:

A. Information sharing around the financial sector such as regulations and guidelines, cybersecurity incidents, and threat intelligence;

B. Staff training and inspection to promote cooperation;

C. Capacity building activities – such as cross-border cyber exercises.

U.S. Treasury officials said there had been a “continuous exchange of cyber threat information” with their Singapore counterparts since 2018.

“The United States and Singapore have a longstanding bilateral partnership,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. “In our interconnected world, the Ministry of Finance and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) share the same goals of maintaining strength and stability, as well as operational and cyber resilience, within each nation’s economic and financial systems. Collaboration on cyber security. The agreement will help increase the cyber resilience of the financial systems of both countries”

Ravi Menon, Governor of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, added: “Close cooperation is critical to ensuring the cyber resilience of our financial system. This partnership between the Ministry of Finance and MAS[协议]Particularly useful in areas such as cyber threat information sharing and cross-border cyber security exercises. “

Cooperation Agreement between CISA and CSA

The White House statement said another agreement between the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and Singapore’s Cybersecurity Agency “will enhance the exchange of information on cyber threats and defensive measures, enhance coordination of cyber incident response, and facilitate greater security and compliance across Southeast Asia. Cybersecurity Capacity Building”.

CISA noted that the agreement will “expand into new areas of collaboration, such as key technologies and research and development.”

Jen Easterly, CISA’s new director, said: “Cyber ​​threats know no borders, which is why international cooperation is…a key part of the government’s approach to cybersecurity.[协议]Enables us to strengthen our existing partnership with Singapore so that we can work together more effectively to defend against today’s threats and against tomorrow’s risks. “

David Koh, chief executive of the Singapore Cyber ​​Security Agency (CSA), said the agreement “demonstrates our shared vision of working together to build a stable, secure, resilient and interoperable cyberspace. … We look forward to continuing to work with the US”

Defense Cooperation Agreement

The third agreement involves the US Department of Defense and Singapore’s Ministry of Defence, as well as the Singapore Armed Forces. The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on cooperation in cyberspace with the United States Department of Defense (US) on 20 August 2021. Defense Chief of Staff Melvyn Ong signed the memorandum with Admiral John Aquilino, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and Paul Nakasone, commander of U.S. Cyber ​​Command, which will institutionalize cyber cooperation between the two defense agencies. This collaboration and engagement is professionally valuable and helps to build mutual understanding and facilitate information sharing and collaboration among trusting partners in capacity-building efforts.

The White House said on Aug. 23 that the partnership “institutionalizes” cybersecurity cooperation between defense agencies and militaries. The memorandum will “support a broad range of defense cooperation,” including the exchange of threat indicators, joint cyber training and “other forms of military cooperation.”

Security Expert Reviews

Mark Rasch, a former Justice Department barrister who is now in private practice, said the three agreements were good steps to help remove barriers.

Lasch warned that any international cooperation – including the collection of data from internet service providers and the provision of data to respective governments – must be “carried out in a manner that respects the legal systems of both countries”.

Rasch continued that the U.S.-Singapore agreement made it clear that “cybersecurity is a global issue.”

Scott Shackelford, executive director of the Indiana University Cybersecurity and Internet Governance Program, noted that the agreements provide a valuable foundation for deepening U.S. engagement with Asian allies. He said they came when “America’s commitment to security needs to be strengthened – given the chaos that is still happening in Afghanistan”.

Likewise, Dr. Kenneth Williams, executive director of the Center for Cyber ​​Defense and director of the U.S. public university system’s cybersecurity program, said: “We need to get as much help as possible from our allies around the world, especially those like Singapore that are close to the South China Sea. ally.”

Increased focus on China

Thank you Foreign Minister @VivianBala for welcoming me to Singapore. Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific are critical to U.S. security and prosperity.

— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) August 22, 2021

Vice President Harris’ trip to Southeast Asia comes as U.S. relations with China have continued to deteriorate in recent months due to the nation’s cyber offensive.

Anne Newberg, deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technologies, recently confirmed that the Biden administration is building an international consensus on countermeasures against Chinese cyber operations. These include a series of attacks on vulnerable Microsoft Exchange servers earlier this year that the United States blamed on China in July.

Last month, the U.S. Justice Department also indicted four Chinese nationals who worked with a Chinese intelligence service, accusing them of conducting a criminal investigation targeting universities and government entities for trade secrets, medical research and other knowledge between 2011 and 2018. Property Hacking.

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