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Episode 357 – Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore & Cybersecurity Initiatives

Ong Chin Beng is the Chief Information Security Officer at MPA (Maritime Port Authority, Singapore). Prior to this, Chin Beng overseen cybersecurity across the transport sector at the Ministry of Transport. Chin Beng graduated from Mechanical Engineering at the National University of Singapore and Cybersecurity and Management at the University of Warwick.

In this interview, Chin Beng introduced the responsibilities and roles that Maritime Port Authority, Singapore (MPA) undertakes as well as the stakeholders that MPA collaborates with to develop and grow the maritime domain and Port of Singapore.

He also gave a glimpse into the rapid pace of digitalisation in the maritime sector and the benefits to improving supply chain efficiency, vessel performance, uplifting the welfare of seafarers, and aids to progression of decarbonisation goals.

As part of the designated 11 Critical Information Infrastructure under the 2018 Singapore Cybersecurity Act, Chin Beng elaborated on some of the initiatives taken by the maritime sector to respond to the regulations, support the risk management of critical information infrastructure of MPA and port operators, and enhance cyber resilience and readiness. 

One example is “Exercise CyberMaritime”, which saw MPA, holding an inaugural sector-wide maritime cybersecurity exercise to put to test, the sector’s coordination on cybersecurity incident management, emergency response plans, and crisis communications – in events such as a ransomware.

Another is the establishment of “PACC-Net” (Port Authorities CIO Cybersecurity Network), a global network that involves 11 port authorities collaborating on maritime cybersecurity to facilitate early sharing of cyber threat information, such as rules of engagement and TLP (traffic light protocol).

Chin Beng also pointed out that MPA will establish the Maritime Cyber Assurance and Operations Centre (“MCAOC” – an expansion of the Maritime Cyber Operations Centre (“MSOC”) by 2025, to progressively raise cyber resilience of onshore information systems, vessel and offshore operational technology, through collaboration among industry players, research community and firms to undertake joint development projects.

Wrapping up, Chin Beng emphasized the importance of development skills and retaining talent, and shared initiatives on growing the talent pool through work with higher institutes of learning (HIL), as well as bridging the gap between “OT” and “ICT” specialists.

Recorded 27th April 2.30pm, Marina Bay Sands Singapore, Singapore Maritime Week 2023.

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