Home / Networking / Singapore touts open platforms in smart nation drive, acknowledges need to do better in security

Singapore touts open platforms in smart nation drive, acknowledges need to do better in security

Singapore is pushing out a number of new initiatives, together with a drowning detection system, as a part of its ongoing sensible nation drive, while touting the significance of an open API-driven framework in driving such efforts. It additionally acknowledges the nation must do extra to enhance its safety posture, significantly within the aftermath of the SingHealth information breach.

Sensible metropolis fashions are now not a novelty, with countries resembling China, Malaysia, and Germany embarking on numerous tasks to enhance their native environments and citizen companies.

In comparison with different international sensible metropolis tasks, although, Singapore is taking a unique strategy by creating widespread, open platforms, based on Minister-in-Cost of Sensible Nation Vivian Balakrishnan, who can be the nation’s overseas affairs minister.

With this open ecosystem, comprising open access to data, APIs (utility programming interfaces), and toolboxes, each its residents and personal sector then would have the ability to create and develop companies, mentioned Balakrishnan throughout a briefing with native media.

“It is an built-in strategy to create extra related, responsive companies for residents. That is the place we will ship a aggressive benefit,” the minister mentioned.

He added that Singapore was in a position to take action as a result of the nation operated on a single layer of presidency and was sufficiently small to operate as a metropolis in itself.

Singapore must “up our recreation” in safety

The open access to data, although, could probably expose residents to added safety dangers, particularly since organisations nonetheless are entrenched in poor safety practices, as revealed within the SingHealth information breach.

Investigation into the July 2018 security incident had uncovered, amongst others, the usage of weak administrative passwords, unpatched workstations, and inadequacies within the community that allowed hackers to run bulk queries.

The SingHealth breach had compromised personal data of 1.5 million sufferers in addition to outpatient medical information of 160,00zero sufferers that visited the healthcare supplier’s amenities.

Requested if the incident had prompted the federal government to relook its sensible nation strategy, Balakrishnan highlighted the necessity to first recognise that security was “a transparent and current concern”, and one which was evolving.

He additionally famous that Singapore was topic to “very refined, ongoing superior persistent threats”, which additional underscored the necessity to take the nation’s cybersecurity technique “very very severely”.

“There isn’t any [one] ultimate resolution. It is [an] ongoing effort. Security has to be baked into the rollout of digital companies,” he mentioned, pointing to the federal government’s deal with five key projects in its smart nation strategy, which included the National Digital Identity (NDI), e-payments, and the Sensible Nation Sensor Platform.

The minister famous that the SingHealth breach demonstrated that people have been fallible and would make errors. This meant programs would have to be always monitored and upgraded, and skillsets additionally would have to be up to date.

As well as, each vulnerability have to be plugged, entry controls must be correctly managed, correct validation must be made, and so forth. Efforts wanted to make sure all of the completely different parts adequately have been safeguarded, he mentioned, noting that a number of loopholes wanted to be aligned for hackers to interrupt in efficiently.

Commenting on the oversights that led to the SingHealth breach, Balakrishnan acknowledged: “We undoubtedly have to up our recreation, however we can’t return to paper and pen.”

Detecting potential drowning, shuttling passengers with out drivers

In pushing forward with its sensible nation plan, the minister revealed a number of pilots that not too long ago launched or have been slated to start later this yr and in 2019.

For example, an ongoing trial makes use of laptop imaginative and prescient and recognition know-how to watch swimming swimming pools and detect potential drowning incidents primarily based on behavioural patterns. Alerts then are despatched out to lifeguards who can reply to such incidents.

A 3-month public trial involving autonomous shuttle buses additionally would start subsequent yr alongside a 5km route on Sentosa island. This is able to be an extension of a earlier on-road pilot, launched in June this yr, alongside a 1km highway at Tanjong Seaside, additionally situated on Sentosa.

There additionally have been plans to launch, later this month, a cellular app for the nation’s citizen account SingPass, which was used to entry e-government companies. At the moment in beta check mode amongst a specific consumer base, SingPass Cellular would supply an added layer of safety by permitting residents to make use of the biometric function on their cell phones to log into their account, Balakrishnan mentioned.

He additionally pointed to ongoing efforts to develop the attain of the MyInfo service, a centralised repository that enabled sure information fields to be robotically populated with the citizen’s private info, resembling passport quantity, residential tackle, and cellular quantity.

The service works by extracting data offered to–and archived by–the respective authorities businesses, as and once they have been required to pre-fill types. All SingPass accounts have a corresponding MyInfo profile.

So far, 110 authorities companies and 90 non-public sector companies are linked to MyInfo, together with native banks and insurance coverage firms.

In accordance with Balakrishnan, there are also plans to launch an upgraded model of the “above-ground containers”, or AG containers.

First unveiled when the federal government debuted its smart nation vision in 2014, these containers served as all-in-one containers with energy and fibre connectivity, and held information sensors from completely different authorities businesses. These containers have been touted to scale back the necessity for pointless groundwork, therefore, chopping deploying time and value.

Whereas he declined to share particulars, the minister mentioned tweaks to the AG containers have been prone to deal with their connectivity resembling wi-fi applied sciences, which at present have been being trialled.

The Singapore authorities final week laid out plans to move some of its systems to the cloud and construct a collection of standardised software program parts to assist quicken utility growth.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong mentioned the federal government would want to “reengineer” its programs and processes to drive the nation’s smart nation purpose, together with reworking the way in which it developed software program. Lee revealed plans for a Singapore Authorities Expertise Stack (SGTS), which might comprise widespread software program parts utilized in utility growth.


(Supply: Singapore’s Sensible Nation and Digital Authorities Workplace)

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