In a world defined by a constant state of flux, it is the news that makes the world go round. The days when the BBC could get away with announcing “There is no news” are long gone. With the effective functioning of government, business and commerce riding on the timely delivery of accurate information on current developments worldwide twenty-four hours a day, a day without reliable news would be a day of chaos.
But with cyber security threats growing more sophisticated by the day, the terrifying spectre of disrupted news can never be fully ruled out. Bad actors have wreaked havoc worldwide by hijacking news cycles with “fake news” and disinformation in a bid to sow hatred and fear across the world. Less subtly, hackers could simply attack the cloud infrastructure of increasingly digitised media companies, preventing them from getting the news out on time.
It is in the context of such threats that Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has joined hands with cyber security firm FireEye to keep its newsroom safe. “Security is one thing that you can never get enough of,” says Glen Francis, chief technology officer (CTO) of SPH. “You can lock the door to prevent a burglar from coming in, but if a tank comes to the door, you will not be able to prevent it,” he explains, warning that the notion of perfect safety from cyber threats is but an illusion.
“Nonetheless, it is imperative that the necessary measures are put in place to protect the company and its assets,” Francis adds. He is taking no chances - as a news organisation, the threat of cyber attack on SPH is very real. “At minimum, companies need to ensure that their basic cyber hygiene is in place to address the main threat vectors coming from email, Internet access and removable media.”
To this end, Francis believes that there is perhaps no better way to secure SPH’s operations than to collaborate with FireEye, a ‘market leader in innovative security technology, threat intelligence and world-renowned Mandiant Managed Defense. “FireEye solutions and services are industry leading. The company’s long and successful track record of defending both businesses and governments alike from cyber attacks speaks for itself,” he explains.
The main considerations SPH had were selecting the best-in-breed solution and had deployed FireEye Endpoint Security, FireEye Email Security, FireEye Helix Security Platform and Mandiant Managed Defense to ringfence its operations.
FireEye Mandiant also provides valuable security insights and advice on building a layered cyber threat defence. Working closely with the SPH IT team, FireEye shared its extensive experience of threat vectors beyond email, endpoint, and network security, via its Mandiant Managed Defense and regular client webinars. SPH can count on on-demand expert threat intelligence should it encounter complex or unfamiliar security threats, as well as case studies and information from other users who have encountered similar threats.
These defences have become only more essential during Covid-19. In its Singapore Cyber Landscape Report in 2019, the Cybersecurity Agency of Singapore (CSA) found that 1,500 phishing attacks took place from March to May — double that in the preceding three months. Working closely with partners like FireEye, says Francis, is key to ensuring stronger cyber security awareness among personnel working from home - human users are after all the weakest link in cybersecurity systems. “Sometimes we get ideas from companies like FireEye by watching how they handle cyber security for their own company,” he says.
Ultimately, it is the assurance that comes with working with a legacy brand with a reputation of success that gives Francis and SPH peace-of-mind. “For us, we need a reliable product and partner that can be activated as and when we need them,” says Francis. With the help of FireEye’s competent personnel, easily-integrated solutions and comprehensive intelligence delivered in a timely fashion, SPH can focus on its core mission: delivering the news.