A Roadblock on the Information Superhighway

For surreptitious Facebook users during the workday (you know who you are), a story from Singapore may give you pause. According to The Straits Times, public servants will not be able to access the internet at work as of May 2017 in a new security measure. According to a memo distributed to government agencies, ministries and statutory board, 100,000 computers will be blocked from internet usage to avoid leaks from emails and shared documents, says The Straits Times. Employees will be able to use personal devices not linked to the government’s email systems, or dedicated terminals, to check non-work related items.

“Western governments have adopted cloud-first policies in the last five or six years of recovery from economic crisis, one of the central IT tenets of the Obama administration, and of David Cameron’s coalition and recent governments,” writes Martin Anderson at The Stack. “But in a post-WikiLeaks world, ring-fencing government email systems in the radical way that Singapore is trialling offers a Gordian Knot-style solution to years of data breach scandals.”

Michael Gazeley, managing director of Network Box, told CNN that these measures may not ensure leak prevention. “Further protection can be achieved by having special computers, which have no USB connectivity, in order to remove another common threat vector,” said Gazeley. He also pointed to the disruptions to having a disconnected workforce. “If everyone is disconnected, how do they even work together?” he asked. “If they do work, how are they then going to move that work across to anyone else? Are they going to print it out? Is the printer secure? Is the paper secure?"

 

Sources:

http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/singapore-public-servants-computers-to-have-no-internet-access-from-may-next-year

https://thestack.com/security/2016/06/08/why-singapores-government-internet-blockade-might-spread-west/

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/08/tech/singapore-internet-access/