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Opening Address by Ms Jacqueline Poh, Managing Director of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore at the National Infocomm Security Competition Awards Ceremony

12 September 2014 - Opening Address by Ms Jacqueline Poh, Managing Director of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore at the National Infocomm Security Competition Awards Ceremony on 12 September 2014, 2.30pm at Suntec Convention Centre.

Opening address by Ms Jacqueline Poh, Managing Director of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore at the National Infocomm Security Competition Awards Ceremony on 12 September 2014, 2.30pm at Suntec Convention Centre

Ms Shirley Wong
Co-Chair, Cyber Security Awareness Alliance

Mr Wahab Yusoff
Vice President, McAfee Southeast Asia

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

NISEC participants,

Good afternoon.

1. Let me start by thanking all of you for taking time from school and from work to join us at the awards ceremony for the National Infocomm Security Competition.

2. This year's Competition theme, "Be Digitally Savvy, Stay Cyber Safe", is timely, given the growing threat from cybercrime and rising Internet usage among Singaporeans. Today, almost three quarters of all Singaporeans are Internet users. We spend, on average, 5 hours each day online on a desktop or laptop, and 2 hours a day on our smartphones and tablet PCs.

3. Based those numbers, it is safe to say that most Singaporeans, especially those belonging to Generation X, Y and Millennials, are quite competent and comfortable with navigating the digital world for school, work and entertainment on a daily basis.

4. Threats on the Internet are rising. Most recently, you would have heard of the data breach of celebrity photos hosted on Apple iCloud or of the breaches at various US banks like JP Morgan. Sometimes hackers get into the computer system of an enterprise because its employees are careless about what they click or how they treat their passwords. Sometimes their employees are malicious and steal data or give away their credentials. Some sophisticated hackers can get in directly through Internet-facing systems or put a computer virus in the equipment that a company buys.

5. But most of the time, as in the Apple iCloud case, it is a lot simpler than that. It could simply be someone who is actively targeting your account, trying out different password and ID combinations, sometimes with help from a computer program. It is often what we call "social engineering". That means, encouraging you to download a malicious app on your smartphone or click on something in an email or reveal something about yourself to someone you barely met online. Before you know it, that person may have guessed your passwords, gotten ready to impersonate you, and stolen your data or money.

6. Since we assume you are not going to unplug yourselves from the benefits of being online, it is important for all of us to understand the various ways we can be hacked, so that we can avoid being victims. Symantec claims that in 2013, Singapore cybercrime victims suffered the highest losses per capita worldwide, with an average cost per victim pegged at S$1,448. This is the highest among the 24 nations surveyed and four times the global average1. The cost of Singaporeans not knowing how, or worse, not bothering to protect themselves from online threats could be very high indeed.

7. This competition is one way to encourage more Singaporeans to adopt good cyber security practices. I am pleased to hear that we had 376 participants in all taking part in the three competitions. Allow me to share some of our plans for the winning teams and entries.

8. The 3D Model competition is open to primary school pupils. Out of the 48 teams who entered, 21 shortlisted teams will show off their entries at the Cyber Security Expo that will be held later this year in October. The shortlisted teams are all here today to show you their creations. During the judging process, it was challenging for the judges to decide the winners, as many entries were well conceptualized and intriguing. Because of this, the judges decided to award two teams with Special Mention prizes in both Upper and Lower Primary categories.

9. For the Lower Primary category, the Special Mention prize was given to the team with a one-of-a-kind idea involving a unique gameplay concept. The other Special Mention prize went to an Upper Primary team that displayed preparedness and confidence in conveying their concept.

10. For the Multimedia Design competition, 10 teams were shortlisted for categories 1 and 2, while three teams were shortlisted for the Open category. Their videos will be showcased at the October Cyber Security Expo alongside the 3D models. And for the first time, the top prize winners will also have their videos broadcasted on national television and online platforms. Among the entries that were received, it was evident that much effort and innovation was put into creating the animations, using materials like plasticine and Lego bricks to form their story.

11. Last but not least, we had 25 teams from various polytechnics and universities taking part in the Zero Day Defence competition, where participants played the role of business owners and were required to build and protect their business websites from "cybercriminals". A zero-day attack is one where breaches are exploited before anyone has figured out there is a vulnerability in the program or the system. It is therefore critical to get our defences up before this happens. After a gruelling process of elimination, 13 teams in the final stage were tasked to penetrate the websites created by the other teams. By taking participants through the rigours of secure coding and exposing them to white hat hacking, we hope we have stirred greater interest among participants to consider cyber security as a profession. For all their effort, the winning team will be offered a three-month internship with McAfee Singapore to learn more about cyber security from IT professionals.

12. I would like to thank all participants for their interest and enthusiasm, as well as the schools for encouraging and supporting their students in these competitions. It is with your support that we are able to raise the awareness cyber security awareness among Singaporeans to a higher level.

13. Through this competition, I hope all participants have gained more insights about how to stay safe and secure in cyberspace. I urge you to apply what you have learned, not only for your own benefit, but also to serve as ambassadors in spreading the cyber security messages to your friends and families.

14. If you want to learn more about cyber threats, visit the Cyber Security Expo, which will be held at the Central Atrium of Marina Square from 9 to 12 October. At the event, you will go through an immersive cyber security tour to learn how hackers commonly launch their attacks against their cyber prey, engage in solving cyber security puzzles to win prizes, and also receive advice on how to secure your tech gadgets. Also, do check out the Gosafeonline website at www.go to learn more about protecting yourselves against cyber threats.

15. I would like to congratulate all winners in this year's competition, and I wish you all an enjoyable day ahead.

16. Thank you.

Note to Editor