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Enhance cyber security, IDA urges firms and individuals

It also warns of intermittent access to some govt sites over next few days
Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 06:00

[SINGAPORE] In the wake of the threats made by unknown individuals against Singapore's online infrastructure, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has urged businesses and individuals to shore up their defences against cyber attacks. Already, the country's government agencies are on guard and have tightened IT security, the regulator said.

"Government agencies have been on heightened vigilance and have enhanced the security of their IT systems in response to the declared threats against the government's ICT infrastructure," IDA said in a statement last night.

"Meanwhile, businesses and individuals are urged to take the necessary precautions to enhance cyber security. They can visit the GoSafe Online website at www.gosafeonline.sg to learn more about how to protect themselves against cyber threats or seek assistance."

Last Saturday, the websites of several government ministries and agencies were down for several hours in the afternoon - for what the IDA had said was "planned maintenance" - prompting speculations of a cyber attack.

Earlier last week, a YouTube video posted by someone claiming links with hacking collective Anonymous had threatened the government's infrastructure with "aggressive cyber intrusion", while denouncing Singapore's licensing regulation of news sites.

Yesterday, the IDA explained that during maintenance from 1pm to 3pm on Saturday, a "fault was discovered", which "affected selected government websites".

"This was due to a combination of a routing issue and a hardware failure, resulting in the glitch. However, this was rectified by 5.20 pm," it added.

Even so, some maintenance works will continue over the next few days, which might mean intermittent access to some government websites, IDA said.

Yesterday, an IDA incident report dated last Saturday - uploaded by an unknown person to the Internet - mirrored the regulator's account of events.

The incidence report made references to a routing problem and a router that experienced hardware failure during an "urgent scheduled maintenance . . . to test the implementation of a security solution for Internet access".

The report said that as a result of the glitch, government agencies on the affected connection were unable to surf public websites from the internal government network, while members of the public were unable to access the government's Internet systems and e-services on the same connection.

"We are waiting for an incident report from the . . . service provider," the report said.

Yesterday, IDA stressed that "maintenance of IT systems is part of the government's on-going efforts to enhance security".