All computers used officially by public servants in Singapore will be cut off from the Internet from May next year , in an unprecedented move to tighten security.This is the new reality: everything sent via email can be read by hackers, and any document kept on a computer connected to the internet is vulnerable to spies.
A memo is going out to all government agencies, ministries and statutory boards here about the Internet blockade a year from now, The Straits Times has learnt.
There are some 100,000 computers in use by the public service and all of them will be affected.
“The Singapore Government regularly reviews our IT measures to make our network more secure,” a spokesman for the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) said when contacted.
The move is aimed at plugging potential leaks from work e-mail and shared documents amid heightened security threats.
Trials started with some employees within the IDA – the lead agency for this exercise – as early as April. Web surfing can be done only on the employees’ personal tablets or mobile phones as these devices do not have access to government e-mail systems. Dedicated Internet terminals have been issued to those who need them for work.
Donald Trump just suggested that his White House might rely on memos written by hand and delivered by a team of couriers. I'm not sure that will happen, but it seems to be the future; can even messages sent via secure intranet be considered secure in a world of wikileaks etc.?
In a related note, I recently read that hackers can easily install ransomware on your fancy new television or other internet-connected device, which can cost hundreds of dollars to remove. Perhaps it was a bad idea to connect everything to the internet before we figured out how to make all those devices reasonably secure.