Users unable to sign up for new SingPass after website traffic surges

A man looking at the SingPass website.
A man looking at the SingPass website. PHOTO: ST FILE

Applicants for the new SingPass were unable to sign up for their enhanced accounts yesterday as the website was deluged with visitors - just a day after its launch.

The new SingPass - which enables users to access government services online - offers improved security measures for Internet transactions involving sensitive or private data.

According to the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), which manages the SingPass system, a surge in traffic to the website caused users to experience intermittent access to government e-services. "While the bandwidth had been increased threefold to manage the expected influx of visitors to the newly launched site, the actual traffic this morning surged to almost twelvefold," an IDA spokesman said.

Users who tried to access the SingPass website between 10am and noon to sign up for the enhanced password system were unable to do so. A message on the website said that maintenance was in progress.

Mr Aloysius Cheang, Asia-Pacific managing director of global computing security association Cloud Security Alliance, said: "When IDA did its testing before the switch to the new system, everything might be fine under normal traffic. But when the system went live and traffic surged, some unforeseen bandwidth issues could have come up."

The IDA said contingency plans were set up to manage the increase in traffic. Most users were able to access the system by noon, although a few faced problems accessing e-services after that.

IT consultant Darren Tay, 39, felt the launch was not planned properly. "I was not able to log in the whole morning and afternoon, even after IDA said it was resolved," he said.

Those who sign up for the new SingPass will have two layers of verification for sensitive transactions, with an additional password to be keyed in. For the next year, all users can still access government e-services involving sensitive data but after July 5 next year, those who have not set up two-step verification will no longer be able to do so.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2015, with the headline 'Users unable to sign up for new SingPass after website traffic surges'. Print Edition | Subscribe