SANS Institute (SANS) Partners with Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) to Prepare 11 Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) Sectors for Cyber-Attacks

Singapore, Singapore, 22 September 2023 – SANS Institute partnered with CSA for its fifth edition of Exercise Cyber Star (XCS 2023), a nationwide cyber crisis management exercise aimed at improving Singapore’s crisis response capabilities and readiness to respond to any whole-of-nation cyber-attacks.

To ensure the readiness of Singapore agencies for the fast-evolving cyber landscape, SANS created realistic exercise scenarios simulating nationwide cyber-attacks affecting multiple CII sectors. These included, amongst others, Ransomware Distributed Denial of Service (RDDoS), Industrial Control Systems (ICS) compromise, and insider threats.

XCS 2023 saw 450 participants from both public and private sector companies take part in a series of technical workshops, command post exercises, and Grid NetWars. Participants were introduced to a myriad of cyber topics curated from the SANS curriculum, such as ransomware incident response, cyber threat intelligence, and security essentials for ICS leaders. This was followed by a command post exercise that allowed participants to exercise their operating procedures in the event of cybersecurity attacks. Finally, the week culminated in an interactive, hands-on Grid NetWars that simulated real-life attacks against various types of ICS relevant to Singapore.

In addition to the exercise itself, SANS engaged the community by hosting a group of 20 youths in collaboration with Cyber Youth Singapore (CYS). SANS APAC Technical Director, Delaney Ng, introduced the youths to GRID NetWars and shared stories about his cybersecurity journey. He said, “The youth are our future and it is very much SANS’s ethos to inculcate interest in cybersecurity, especially amongst the younger generation. We are privileged to use this opportunity to introduce these aspiring practitioners to the world of OT and ICS. SANS is committed to empowering them to continue contributing to the community here in Singapore.”

Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Mr Teo Chee Hean, who was the Guest-of-Honour for the event, observed and interacted with exercise participants. He was accompanied by Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Communications and Information, and Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information.

Suresh Mustapha, Managing Director of APAC, SANS Institute, added: “As a digitally well-connected tech hub, Singapore faces increasing threats of cyber-attacks against everyday life. This exercise allowed SANS to help empower Singapore’s cyber practitioners with the knowledge and capabilities to defend against these cyber-attacks in a realistic cyber exercise. Given that this is the first time SANS is bringing the cyber exercise capabilities to Singapore, it demonstrates our commitment in partnering with the Singapore government and agencies in upskilling the overall cyber maturity of Singapore and also aligns with our mission to make the world a safer place.”

To find out more about how SANS Institute’s training, table top exercises, cyber ranges and security awareness, please reach out to us at [email protected].