No internet for Singapore Public officers from May 2017.
What we are reading so far is that all computers used officially by public servants in Singapore will be cut off from the Internet from May next year. The primary reason for this unusual and harsh stance is growing cyber security concerns and inability of government to find a assured control mechanism to mitigate the risk of espionage, data breach or other network based attack.
It’s now a known fact that despite the training and awareness efforts put in, our poor colleague “Dave” – a simple guy in an office is unable to resist himself from opening attachment received from external sources or click on links sent. These are social engineering attacks being launched via internet to get foothold of government’s systems. Malware are deployed through these modus-operand and we all know there are zero day malware or viruses which are developed all the time by foreign intelligence agencies, foreign non state APT actors. So by disabling access of internet to Public staff on Government devices surely the security risk is considerably mitigated there is no doubt in my mind.
But the next question many peoples mind is that is it really cyber security proof and the simple answer is – unfortunately no. Insider threats shall continue to persist plus it’s not clear if these devices shall have endpoint security to ensure such devices are internet restricted on home internet as well.
The immediate repercussion is that the public offers need to carry their own personal device which they can use to connect to Internet, what we are reading so far is that the government would provide internet access on a separate network this also means that staff members are not cut off from internet while working in offices. However the network is segregated. Many businesses do have this facility for their visitors to their offices. Generally, such internet facing network services are procured from a different ISP then one on which business network is run.
I strongly feel this is a really good move by a smart intelligent Government of Singapore and shall not surprise if other businesses either follow or are asked to implement similar network and endpoint segregation.
We do hope that once the quantum computing based security solutions are available the above provision may well be relaxed but its bit too ahead in future and difficult to predict who would win hat battle in Quantum computing era.
Happy to hear your views of the smart move made here.