HACKED SINGPASS ACCOUNTS USED TO APPLY FOR WORK PASSES

In a joint statement today (4 Jul), IDA and MOM confirmed that 3 of the 1,560 SingPass accounts compromised last month were used to make six fraudulent work pass applications.

The statement said that MOM immediately cancelled the work passes upon discovery of the fraudulent applications. It added MOM has put in place “additional measures to strengthen and further safeguard its work pass transactions”.

“We thank the affected SingPass users for their assistance in helping us confirm that the applications were not made by them. The matter has now been referred to the police,” the statement said.

The IDA filed a police report on 3 Jun last month alleging that 1,560 SingPass users have had their IDs and passwords accessed without their permission.

IDA was notified on 2 Jun by the SingPass operator, CrimsonLogic, that a number of users had received a SingPass password reset notification letter, although they had not requested for a password change.

IDA’s own investigations showed that 1,560 users’ IDs and passwords were potentially accessed, of which 419 passwords were reset. Password reset notification letters were then sent to the registered address of SingPass account holders.

IDA is currently enhancing the SingPass system, which will be ready by the third quarter of 2015. It will also introduce further measures such as two-factor authentication for e-government transactions, particularly for those involving sensitive data, the statement said today.

SingPass operator, CrimsonLogic is majority-owned by IE Singapore. The rest of the shareholders are split among SingTel and public sector agencies like the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.

In 2005, CrimsonLogic’s then CEO Velusamy Mathivanan and 3 other senior executives were charged with corruption. Velusamy Mathivanan, along with his vice president of trade and logistics, financial controller and general counsel, were charged in court for offering a bribe of $35,000 to Matthias Tan, IT head of supermarket chain Carrefour. In return, Tan agreed to recommend the IT services provider to his management for an e-supply chain contract worth $400,000.

However, they were acquitted in December 2006.

The current CEO is Saw Ken Wye who was born in Kuala Lumpur and intends to become a Singaporean soon. Mr Saw has been working in Singapore since 1983.

During an interview last year, he said, “We need to grow faster but not at the expense of productivity. We have about 1,000 people now. So each employee is contributing about $100,000, which is not great. We need to raise this a bit more.”

He said that he is likely to add 500 staff to the firm’s 1,000-strong headcount.

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