The Business Times

A matter of when, not if, hackers will make breakthrough

Lee U-Wen
Published Wed, Mar 1, 2017 · 09:50 PM
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THE invitation by the Defence Ministry (Mindef) on Monday to attend a media briefing the very next morning came with few details of what to expect. The e-mail only mentioned that the session was about the ministry's IT system, and not much else. It was also stated that deputy secretary (technology) David Koh would speak to journalists at the end of the briefing.

As it turned out, the actual announcement was, in fact, IT-related, but on a much bigger scale than most of us had imagined. The ministry revealed that its I-net Internet system was the victim of a cyberattack in early February, with the perpetrators making off with the personal data of about 850 national servicemen and Mindef employees. The I-net system enables users to access the Internet via dedicated computer terminals in the ministry and at Singapore Armed Forces camps.

The information lost included NRIC numbers, telephone numbers and birth dates - things that one would normally put on lucky draw forms. Thus, it was a bit of a relief to hear that no passwords were lost.

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