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New centre to monitor cyberthreats

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As Singapore pushes digital limits to improve citizens' lives, it is also beefing up cyber defences with a centre to monitor threats.

A tender for the first Government Security Operation Centre (SOC) - featuring artificial intelligence and the analytics smarts to detect cyberthreats - will be called by early next year.

The SOC will soak up a huge portion of the cyber security budget, set at $528 million for the financial year ending March 31, 2018. The SOC will replace the Cyber-Watch Centre, which has been in operation since 2007 and the contract for which will expire in 2019.

Ms Jacqueline Poh, chief executive of the Government Technology Agency, said network and cabling projects are under way to build "the foundation of a Smart Nation and a digital government".

"This year, the Government intends to spend a larger proportion of the budget on digital and data analytics projects, cyber security systems and smart applications," she said.

These areas, between them, will account for close to half of this year's total budget.

The drive to tackle cyber threats is now more urgent.

Mr Aloysius Cheang, executive vice-president of global computing security association Cloud Security Alliance, said a highly automated centre that takes advantage of artificial intelligence will speed up threat response.

This is especially crucial as we become a Smart Nation.

"Singapore will be subjected to all kinds of attacks that will take advantage of citizens' connected devices - from toilet bowls to smart TVs," said Mr Cheang.