Partnering for cybersecurity

25 October 2016 | Research
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From left: Prof Tan Chorh Chuan, Mr Teo and Ms Chua using face recognition technology to launch the NUS-Singtel Cyber Security Lab

To address the growing security concerns of a highly connected digital economy, NUS and Singtel have launched the NUS-Singtel Cyber Security Research and Development Laboratory (NUS-Singtel Cyber Security Lab). The facility will conduct research and develop capabilities and innovative solutions that defend Singapore’s public entities, businesses and individuals from cyber threats.

Guest-of-Honour Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, and Chairman of National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore, officially launched the new laboratory on 24 October. Invited guests included Ms Yong Ying-I, Permanent Secretary (National Research and Development) and Permanent Secretary (Public Service Division); Professor Low Teck Seng, CEO of NRF; Mr Wong Ngit Liong, NUS Chairman; NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan; and Ms Chua Sock Koong, Group CEO of Singtel.

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Mr Teo checking out an exhibition showcasing research areas of the new corporate laboratory after the launch

Hosted by NUS Computing, the $42.8 million NUS-Singtel Cyber Security Lab is supported by NRF under its Corporate Laboratory@University Scheme, which facilitates public-private partnerships to establish key corporate laboratories. NUS, Singtel and NRF will provide the funding equally over five years.

In his address at the event, Mr Teo highlighted incidents of cyber breaches in Singapore and around the world targeting companies and governments. Thus, he saw the Lab as an important initiative complementing the nation’s cybersecurity strategy. He noted, “Such public-private R&D collaboration aligns public research to industry needs and accelerates innovations to market. This will serve both national and societal needs in emerging areas such as cybersecurity.”

Under the leadership of Professor David Rosenblum, Provost’s Chair Professor at NUS Computing, the NUS-Singtel Cyber Security Lab seeks to develop data analytics techniques that enable IT service providers to detect and respond to security in real time; and devise new approaches to design and implement IT systems that are “secure by design” to resist a broad array of attacks.

The research focus revolves around four themes: network, data and cloud security; predictive security analytics; Internet-of-Things and industrial control systems; and future-ready cybersecurity systems based on quantum technology. The Lab will have more than 100 research staff and train some 120 new cybersecurity professionals from undergraduate to postdoctoral level.

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Prof Rosenblum (centre) explaining the focus of the cybersecurity lab to Mr Teo and guests

“With the support from NRF, the NUS-SingTel Lab will develop innovative solutions that enhance the protection of critical data and information systems in Singapore and beyond,” said Prof Tan. “This Lab will also enable NUS to attract and train more students to become cybersecurity professionals, which is currently a key manpower gap for Singapore.”

Mr Bill Chang, CEO of Group Enterprise at Singtel commented, “Our collaboration with NUS and NRF will enhance our ability to protect enterprises and governments by developing next-generation cybersecurity technologies and solutions which we can quickly commercialise through our global footprint of product engineering and development centres.”

Prof Low pointed out that the joint venture illustrates “an NRF’s funding initiative that strengthens the connection between research and industry, so that R&D capabilities in the universities can be translated into solutions that have direct relevance in addressing national and global needs”.

See press release.