Singaporean officials said the government would set up a new wing of its armed forces dedicated to digital security amid the Russia-Ukraine war, which has included cyberattacks.
Addressing parliament on Wednesday, Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen said the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) would establish a so-called “fourth service” meant to integrate and expand the state’s capabilities in the digital domain.
Ng said the new digital and intelligence service (DIS) unit would combat online attacks and help the army fight better as a collective group.
“The digital terrain has become as real as the land, air, and sea domains for which we have raised the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy. Some would argue that for the next generations, the digital domain is the dominant domain–so much so that a new word ‘metaverse’ was coined for that virtual universe,” Ng said.
Ng pointed to fuel shortages that occurred in the US following a ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline and how Iranians could not top up gas at petrol stations after hackers breached the payment system.
“Threats that emanate in the digital domain can readily impact events in the real physical world. That divide between virtual and physical, in security terms, is a false one as the two are intricately interwoven,” Ng said.
Ukraine also had come under constant cyber attacks in the years leading up to its current physical conflict, damaging its servers and databases and disrupting power and communications.
The DIS would be operational by the end of 2022.
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