Singapore opens security testing centre

Joint centre set up by the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore and a local university will facilitate security testing and train security evaluation talent

Singapore’s Cyber Security Agency (CSA) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have opened a joint centre that manufacturers and developers can use to test and certify the security of their products.

Called the National Integrated Centre for Evaluation (Nice), the S$19.5m centre will also conduct research on advanced security evaluation techniques and build up a pool of security evaluation talent.

Nice will be equipped with advanced equipment security evaluators and developers can use to perform evaluation at the highest assurance level.

The centre, which comes on the back of CSA’s efforts to promote security-by-design practices, will also maintain a pool of research and technical staff with the expertise to use the equipment and share their knowledge with other users.

In 2019, Singapore achieved the status of a Certificate Authorising Nation under the Common Criteria Recognition Arrangement, in a move to bolster the local cyber security industry.

This was followed by the Cybersecurity Labelling Scheme (CLS) in 2020, which provides different levels of cyber security ratings to help consumers make informed choices about the security features of the smart devices they purchase.

At the end of April 2022, the two schemes have seen healthy take-up by manufacturers. More than 200 products have been submitted for labelling under the four levels of CLS, and 20 products have been submitted for evaluation at higher assurance levels.

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To make it easier for manufacturers to attain the highest CLS rating, CSA has introduced the CLS-Ready initiative, where security functionalities provided by CLS-Ready hardware will no longer need to be tested again at the end-device level.

For example, manufacturers can use a CLS-Ready certified chip in their devices, saving them time and cost when testing the devices against the most stringent CLS Level 4.

The first company to come onboard the CLS-Ready initiative is semiconductor manufacturer Infineon, whose Optiga Trust M chip used in smart home and consumer internet of things devices has been certified as CLS-Ready.

David Koh, commissioner of cyber security and chief executive of CSA, noted the importance of ensuring new emerging technologies are designed securely.

“This collaboration between CSA and NTU underlines CSA’s continual commitment in working with institutions of higher learning and industry to build up the cyber security manpower pipeline and facilitate a national cyber security ecosystem that will provide good business opportunities and jobs,” he said.

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