Speech by Ms. Josephine Teo, Minister of Communications and Information, at the ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity on October 20, 2022

October 20, 2022



Your Excellencies

Deputy Secretary General of the ASEAN Economic Community, Mr. Satvinder Singh

Senior officials

Colleagues and friends


1. Hello. Welcome to the 7th ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity (or AMCC). I am very happy to finally meet all of our ASEAN colleagues in person today as a group after two years of the GCCA taking place virtually. I also want to salute all of our dialogue partners today and thank you for putting in the time and effort to engage with all of us.

Digital security underpins a sustainable digital future

2. Last week I attended the Digital Summit in Tallinn and was asked during the dialogue a question about how the digital landscape has changed over the past 15 years. Estonian colleagues used 15 years, because in 2007 they suffered a major cyberattack that permanently scarred them, and a constant reminder of the importance of taking cybersecurity seriously. So the question was centered on the 15 years since 2007. In those 15 years, we’ve moved from 3G to 4G, and now many of us are preparing or have already moved to 5G.

3. In ASEAN, with a population of about 660 million people, we have about 340 or 350 million people, who are already digital users. 60 million of them were added during the pandemic alone. Thus, the scale of digitization in our region is happening very rapidly and shows no signs of slowing down. Bloomberg estimates a 25% growth in Southeast Asia’s digital economy in 2022. This is an exciting time for ASEAN to harness the opportunities that digitalization presents.

4. But we are all also fully aware that where there are opportunities, there are also threats and risks. This year alone, we have witnessed several crippling cyberattacks, such as those in Costa Rica and Albania. Globally, it is estimated that nearly US$950 billion was lost to cybercrime in 2020. As digitalization becomes ubiquitous, we will be exposed to a wide range of cyberattacks, cybercrime and threats. other line damage.

5. A safe and secure cyberspace is the foundation for a sustainable digital future. This allows us to trust the technologies we use and gives us the confidence to continue our digital journeys.

6. The theme of this year’s ASEAN Chairmanship, “Addressing Challenges Together,” is an apt rallying call. In the field of cybersecurity, we must act and meet the challenges in unity, to build a sustainable digital future together.

Implementation of ASEAN cyber cooperation strategy is key

seven. ASEAN has certainly made significant progress in strengthening our collective cybersecurity. In January this year, the second ASEAN Cybersecurity Cooperation Strategy was adopted at the 2nd ASEAN Digital Ministers Meeting (ADGMIN).

8. Together with other initiatives undertaken at various ASEAN meetings, the strategy will help advance cooperation between our countries and strengthen our regional cybersecurity posture. Singapore looks forward to working with its ASEAN partners to implement this strategy over the coming years.

9. One of the key initiatives of the strategy is the establishment of an ASEAN Regional Computer Emergency Response Team (or CERT). We conducted the ASEAN CERT Incident Drill exercise
(ACID) annually since 2006, to strengthen the preparation of CERTs in our countries. Given the increasing sophistication of cyber attacks, ASEAN member states recognize that we need to be even more intentional in enhancing regional CERT-to-CERT collaboration. The ASEAN Member States therefore agreed to establish an ASEAN Regional CERT as part of the adopted strategy.

ten. This is an important step in strengthening regional cyber resilience. Now, the next step is to continue our good momentum to operationalize the ASEAN Regional CERT. What are we trying to achieve? We envision the Regional CERT as a virtual center comprised of analysts and incident responders from across ASEAN. They will work closely together to ensure timely information sharing during an incident. For example, if a supply chain attack were to occur in one of our countries, CERT’s regional analysts would quickly share information from their own country and jointly develop advisories as needed. In other words, we are weaving a tighter net that will hopefully help prevent cyber attackers from getting through too easily.

11. Singapore has circulated a draft operational framework and we look forward to your contributions.

Strengthening the rules-based multilateral order in cyberspace is our collective responsibility

12. Having strong operational capabilities is only one aspect of our cyber resilience. A safe and secure cyberspace also requires the adoption and effective implementation of rules, standards and principles of responsible behavior by States in cyberspace.

13. All of us in ASEAN understand the importance of an open, secure, stable and interoperable cyberspace based on mutual trust. We have the distinction of being the first and only regional grouping to have subscribed in principle to the eleven voluntary and non-binding standards of responsible behavior by States in the use of ICT.

14. Capacity building is the bedrock that helps states improve our collective cyber resilience. Since the launch of the ASEAN Cyber ​​Capability Program in 2016, Singapore has hosted more than 40 programs and trained nearly 1,500 officials from across the region. We will strengthen capacity building efforts within and beyond the region. For example, we recently launched the UN-Singapore Cyber ​​Fellowship to facilitate cross-regional learning with other UN Member States.

15. Developing the “rules of the road” for cyberspace requires deliberate and consistent effort. We must actively implement the eleven voluntary, non-binding standards. I am therefore pleased to note that the ASEAN Regional Action Plan on Implementing Standards of Responsible State Behavior in Cyberspace was endorsed last year when we met virtually. We agreed at the time that subscribing to the principles was a good first step, but it needs to be backed by a concrete action plan to put those principles into practice. The Action Plan therefore outlines concrete steps that States could take and also identifies specific areas that countries can focus on for capacity building.

16. At the UN, the ongoing five-year Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) continues to build on the work of previous international discussions on cyber standards. As Chair of the OEWG, we thank our ASEAN partners for their continued support and participation.


17. In conclusion, I would like to reaffirm the significant progress that ASEAN has made towards a secure and resilient cyberspace. We have accomplished all of this because we live by the principle of “Addressing Challenges Together” to build a sustainable digital future for all of our people.

18. I look forward to our discussions at the GCCA and wish you all a pleasant and fruitful stay in Singapore. Thank you once again.


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