MAS and US Treasury carry out cybersecurity stress tests

MAS and US Treasury carry out cybersecurity stress tests

Allowing both agencies to strengthen protocols for incident response.

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The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the United States Department of the Treasury (Treasury) have carried out a cross-border cybersecurity exercise between April 25- 27, 2023, according to a statement released by MAS on Tuesday.

This exercise allowed both agencies to test and strengthen existing protocols for information exchange and incident response coordination for cyber incidents involving banks operating in both jurisdictions, the MAS statement said.

The exercise follows from the Memorandum of Understanding on Cybersecurity Cooperation signed between MAS and the Treasury in August 2021.

The MAS statement said that, given the rising cyber threats targeting financial services, and the interconnectedness of the US and Singapore financial ecosystems, timely coordination and cooperation during a cyber incident with cross-border impact is essential in ensuring a swift response and effective recovery of the affected operations.

Following the exercise, Treasury and MAS reviewed the lessons gleaned, discussed possible enhancements and involvement of other international partners in future exercises, and explored other opportunities to deepen cybersecurity cooperation, such as holding bilateral workshops on cybersecurity policies and protocols.

Significant step

US Treasury’s Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection, Todd Conklin, said the exercise was a significant step forward for the cyber partnership between the US and Singapore, “representing an effort to bolster cybersecurity cooperation and our ability to communicate in response to a significant cross-border incident”.

“We appreciate our Singapore partners for working with us to make that possible. Every day we are reminded that cyber threats cross all national borders as there has been an exponential growth in threat actor activities. We must have a coordinated international response to the increase in threats, as the interconnectedness of our financial systems makes us only as strong as our weakest endpoints,” Conklin said

MAS’ Assistant Managing Director (Technology), Vincent Loy, said Singapore and the US are major international financial hubs where a number of global systemically important banks operate, the cyber resiliency of these institutions in the respective countries has systemic implications on financial stability globally.

“The exercise is a key milestone in Treasury and MAS’ continued and close cooperation to strengthen our collective cybersecurity preparedness, and to safeguard financial stability,” Loy said.

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