In the effort to fight cybercrime, Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam unveiled a National Cybercrime Action Plan on July 20 at the annual RSA Conference Asia-Pacific and Japan.
Mr Shanmugam said, “Around the world today, every aspect of our lives are plugged into the Internet and cloud (computing)… But the more connected we are, the more vulnerable we become to cyber criminals. It goes beyond financial loss, to include drug trafficking, child pornography, and many other illegal activities,”
He also cited the recent case of British pedophile Richard Huckle who hid pornographic images and videos of at least 23 children using the dark Web.
There are four key principles in the government’s strategy: Public education, enhancing the Government’s capacity to fight cybercrime strengthening legislation, and building partnership with the industry.
Mr Shanmugam said that for the instance of public education, the Singapore Police Force has worked with National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) to revamp the Scam Alert website (www.scamalert.sg) into a one-stop self-help portal against scams. Members of the public can share personal scam experiences and lodge police reports. The information can be used by the police to identify crime trends and deal with them.
According to the police’s database, there are significant hikes in crime last year compared to in 2014 under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act (CMCA). The increase has gone over than 40 per cent and it was just the “tip of the iceberg”.
In 2015, there were 3,759 cases of e-commerce cheating, credits-for-sex and internet love scams. This amount was doubled from the cases back in 2014. These three types of crime saw victims cheated of a total of more than $16 million.
As for partnership, Singapore is the project proponent of the 2-Year ASEAN Cyber Capacity Development Project. This project is funded by the Government of Japan through the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF) 2.0, implemented by the IGCI and targeted at ASEAN Member States. The project aims to strengthen ASEAN Member States’ capacity and capability to fight cybercrime; and promote cooperation between ASEAN, Japan and INTERPOL. The project will be implemented in the second half of 2016.
Mr Shanmugam said that the CMCA will be amended to ensure the effectiveness in dealing with the transnational nature of cybercrimes and evolving tactics perpetrators wield as well as the existing laws in the Criminal Procedure Code.
Law enforcement agencies’ will be provided with new tools to better guard against and investigate cybercrime. For example, a digital evidence search tool will automate the forensic processing of large volumes of data, lightening the investigation workload of officers, and speeding up the processing time for digital evidence.
Mr Shanmugam said that he will approach the Government, private sectors and education institution here and abroad for more partnership. For example, the MHA is working with the private sector to develop customised malware tools, and will jointly launch a lab with Temasek Polytechnic to support students specialising in cyber-crime and cyber security.
To raise awareness among vulnerable groups such as senior citizens and children, the police will work with schools nand non-governmental organisations, one of which that the National Crime Prevention Council will launch mobile application targeted at children later this year.
The MHA’s Cyber Security Lab will also expand its curriculum to cover topics like digital forensics and malware analysis.