Week 8: Cyberattacks

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This news article was inspired after CSE 111 class. To think that a place which has such high security could have its system breached! 😨

I remember my bro complaining to me that the computers at his office (he’s an admin spec) didn’t have Internet at all, which almost killed him of boredom during his first week in his vocation when he wasn’t assigned anything to do. Fast forward a few weeks later, I hear him telling me of streaming movies during his stay-in duties. “That computer got Internet so you won’t get bored or fall asleep while doing duty.”

Apparently, my bro is talking about the I-net system that MINDEF uses, which got hacked.

Thankfully, MINDEF separates its internal systems that contain classified military information from the I-net, if not things would have been much worse.

 

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MINDEF’s internal systems are literally separated from Internet-facing systems. (Source)

Even so, having personal data, especially NRIC numbers, being stolen is bad in itself already. I mean, our SingPass is linked to our NRIC numbers! However, considering that most of what Singapore has is intel, it’s really a good thing that MINDEF has taken such preventive measures!

In fact, MINDEF has come up with a new NS vocation!

Cyber-defence!

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I feel that this is something very important to develop in Singapore. (No hate for the following ignorant thoughts please) I’ve always questioned why Singapore needed to have conscription service to train soldiers when war isn’t something that is real to us, as compared to South Korea. I know that we can’t be complacent and should always be prepared, but considering the very size of our country, it doesn’t take much for another country to just kick our puny butts.

Perhaps preparing for something that is more real would be a cyberwar instead, which has the potential to cripple an entire nation since we are quite reliant on technology. For example, the Internet outage in 2008 had left millions of users confused and concerned, which temporarily disrupted their lives. Already in 2010, this cyberwar has started with a Stuxnet worm to attack Iran’s nuclear program by causing them to spin out of control (so scary!). Moreover, it was also said that attempts were made to hacked into the election counting machines during the 2016 U.S. election. D:

Even though such things haven’t happened to Singapore yet, we can see attempts to hack into our defense systems with the case of the MINDEF breach.

I think that everyone has a part to play to fight against cyberattacks, and the best way is to to take precaution. Based from the recommendations given by The New Paper article, here are some things we can do:

  1. Use strong and unique passwords, and change them regularly. Don’t use the same password for all your accounts.
  2. Don’t click random email or social media messages that are sent by people you don’t know (especially if they sound dubious). This also includes downloading suspicious files online.
  3. Install security software, including anti-malware programs.
  4. In the case when your data has been compromised, don’t forget to change security questions as well!

There are probably more things we can do, so feel free to add on more to this list in the comments!

Sources:

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