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SingHealth cyber attack: Bite the bullet and reboot Smart Nation

Smart city's safety woes: SingHealth's data breach in Singapore's worst cyber attack has triggered questions over the country's Smart Nation initiatives

(From left) Cyber Security Agency CEO David Koh, MCI Permanent Secretary Gabriel Lim, Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Chan Heng Kee and SingHealth CEO Ivy Ng at the press conference on July 20, 2018, regarding the SingHealth cyber attack. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
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"The stock taking is important because at the heart of Smart Nation projects are Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices such as sensors or Web cameras, many of which do not even have a password protection mechanism for access control," said Mr Aloysius Cheang, Asia-Pacific executive vice-president of the Centre for Strategic Cyberspace + Security Science, a London-based think-tank.

At the very least, the Web cameras on smart lamp posts linked to surveillance systems must use tamper-proof cryptoprocessors, he said. But development in this space for IoT deployments is nascent and lacking global standardisation for safety.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 22, 2018, with the headline SingHealth cyber attack: Bite the bullet and reboot Smart Nation. Subscribe