Singapore cybersecurity scheme touted as model for Philippines

MICROSOFT Corp. said on Wednesday that Singapore’s cybersecurity labeling scheme for consumer devices could be one approach towards boosting cybersecurity in the Philippines.

Certifications and labels can “enhance cybersecurity transparency and assurance,” Microsoft Philippines National Technology and Security Officer Dale Pascual Jose said at a briefing.

Launched in 2020, Singapore’s cybersecurity labeling scheme is the first of its kind in the Asia-Pacific. It provides cybersecurity ratings for smart devices, allowing consumers to determine the level of security on offer to help them make informed purchasing decisions.

“The cybersecurity labeling scheme also aims to help manufacturers stand out from their competitors and be incentivized to develop more secure products,” according to Singapore’s Cyber Security Agency on its official website.

According to Mr. Jose, Microsoft believes stakeholders should “promote technology and security awareness, focus criteria on security processes, and root certification or label security criteria in existing best practices and international standards.”

The Philippines placed 61st out of 194 countries in the 2020 edition of the Global Cybersecurity Index, which measures countries’ commitment in adopting cybersecurity best practices.

Microsoft said the Philippines should promote resilience through cybersecurity hygiene and education. Cybersecurity hygiene means enabling multifactor authentication, applying “Zero Trust” principles, using modern anti-malware, and protecting data, among others.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is currently working to strengthen banks’ cyber resilience through industry-wide initiatives to protect consumers as the use of digital payments increases. It is set to roll out a digitized regulatory and supervisory engine by January 2023.

Former BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno in December said the central bank was looking to issue stronger regulations on banks’ cyber defenses following hacking incidents involving BDO Unibank, Inc. and UnionBank of the Philippines, Inc. — Arjay L. Balinbin