Singapore has been talking about being a smart nation for quite some time now. This video posted by the government tries to explain what a smart nation is:
It says that a Smart Nation is one that:
“embraces technology so that its citizens are free to do more of the things they love to do. Smart is #Singapore, where many smart ideas, form one smart nation. Let’s build a #SmartNation together!”
And the government’s latest smart idea? Cut the connection between civil servants’ laptops and the Internet. The rationale? To guard against cyberattacks over the Internet and create a “more secure working environment”. Wow. What a novel way of embracing technology!
The government is quick to defend the move. It says that this is not a move backwards. That’s not how a lot of people see it.
But you know what. I think what the government has done is smart. It’s so bold. Smart is a nation that knows its cyber-security agency can’t protect the systems from an attack. Smart is a nation that knows the only protection is to cut off access between government computers and the Internet. But it’s not enough. It can go further.
Just cutting off from the internet is not enough. The computers in Iran’s nuclear reactors are cut off from the internet. But the Israelis and Americans still found a way to attack them. It’s called Stuxnet. It was delivered into the nuclear reactors’ computers by a thumb drive. So you see… the government should make it such that all civil servants can only plug in specially encrypted thumb drives. And they can’t copy things out or in of their work laptops.
And why stop in the cyber world. Terrorist attacks on physical infrastructures and buildings are clear and present dangers. Minister Shanmugam said that it’s a matter of when, not if, terrorists attack us. Already we have arrested a number of foreign workers who have been radicalised.
With such clear and present danger, we should boldly do in real world what we are going to do in the cybersphere – close our borders. Stop all foreigners from coming to Singapore. Stop all Singaporeans from leaving Singapore. Only then can we keep Singapore safe.
Smart is a nation that thinks out of the box. Smart is a nation that does the unconventional. Smart is a nation like Singapore. Be like Singapore.
[Featured image: from IDA’s website]