Kaspersky Lab is pleased to announce that the Singapore government recently awarded its research project on an innovative method of identifying APT malware source with a grant as part of the city-state’s bid to step up its cybersecurity research and development (R&D) capabilities. In collaboration with the National University of Singapore (NUS), the research project by Kaspersky Lab is one of the nine cybersecurity projects awarded by the Singapore National Research Foundation with a total of $15.6 million grant.
Launched in November 2016, Singapore’s National Cybersecurity R&D Programme Grant Call highlighted the potential for translational and deployability of cybersecurity ideas and technologies. It identified three priority areas, namely; national security, critical infrastructure and smart nation. The grant call particularly eyed research projects that examine key technology areas including effective threat-based detection, analysis and defense, secure IoT system, and security-by-design and testing of emergent technologies.
Out of 23 proposals received, only nine were selected based on their significance to create impact in Singapore and possible practical application in the public’s daily lives.
Kaspersky Lab worked with the NUS to develop its research project titled, “Malware Source Attribution through Multi-Dimensional Code Feature Analysis” to create automated solutions that will help malware analysts and security response teams understand the similarities in malware used across cyber attacks more efficiently and pinpoint the attackers quickly.
The current practice among cybersecurity professionals is to rely on the history of malware attacks to establish the possible origins of threat actors. Cybersecurity experts normally collect evidence after cyberattacks, likening APT research to paleontology where malware analysts dig up and gather malware artefacts, map, and analyze attacks and follow the trail of the hackers to uncover and figure it out.
“We decided to join this opportunity kindly provided by the NRF as it opens a new page in Kaspersky Lab’s research efforts in Asia. We hope that the new technology developed together with NUS will help improve the speed of our research when it comes to code attribution. We would like to have practical solutions in the end that will be applicable and beneficial not only to us but to all interested Singapore agencies,” said Vitaly Kamluk, Director of Global Research & Analysis Team, Kaspersky Lab APAC.
Singapore is one of the countries in Asia Pacific that Kaspersky Lab has been working with very closely on cybersecurity. In 2015, Eugene Kaspersky was appointed as member of the International Advisory Panel for Singapore’s National Cybersecurity R&D Programme, the same year Kaspersky Lab opened its APAC headquarters in Singapore.
One of the established efforts between Kaspersky Lab and Singapore is the skills development program through the Economic Development Board of Singapore (EDB) where highly-skilled students are given the opportunity to train at the cybersecurity company’s headquarters in Moscow as junior malware analysts. Out of the five students sent to the one-year cybersecurity training, one of them is currently working with Kaspersky Lab, two with the Singapore Cybersecurity Agency and two of them are working for private companies in Singapore.
“As Singapore aims to become the first Smart Nation, cybersecurity forms the very basis upon which all other technology and innovations can be deployed safely. As Singapore’s national assets migrate into the digital world, it is critical that the government, businesses, and citizens are protected against any security breach,” says Stephan Neumeier, managing director of Kaspersky Lab Asia Pacific.
“We are excited to be in collaboration with the National University of Singapore, a leader in education, in creating an automated malware solution source. The initiative by the National Cybersecurity R&D Programme to support new ideas and cybersecurity technologies is highly encouraging and having an inclusive ecosystem to support cyber threats is definitely another step in the right direction,” adds Neumeier.