Recently, the Home Team Behavioural Sciences Centre (HTBSC) in Singapore shared the findings from its National Prevalence Survey of Scams. Conducted online between August and September 2020, the survey garnered responses from 4,043 Singaporean citizens and Permanent Residents, which helped HTBSC to learn more about the attitudes and behaviours that make us more vulnerable to scams.
The online survey, conducted between last August and September, polled 4,043 people comprising Singapore citizens and permanent residents. They answered questions on their scam experiences, online practices and perception of scam prevention initiatives.
Rise in online scams in Singapore
The survey found that many Singapore citizens have poor cyber hygiene practices, such as clicking on pop-up advertisements on websites or opening e-mails from unknown sources.
Over 49% of scam victims wrongly believed that the authorities verify the information by sending them SMS or e-mails with links to click on. 37% of the victims had a false belief that it is common practice to share passwords or OTPs. About 7% of respondents said they fell victim to scams in that year.
According to the Singapore Police Force (SPF), overall crime in 2020 increased by 6.5% due to a rise in scam cases. In particular, online scams saw a significant increase as Singaporeans carried out more online transactions due to the COVID-19 situation. Excluding scams, the total number of reported crimes decreased by 15.3%.
More than S$200 million was lost to scammers last year as more people made transactions online during the pandemic, the police said at their annual crime statistics briefing last week.
Particularly for e-commerce scams, the total amount cheated increased to $6.9 million last year, from $2.3 million in 2019.
Carousell had the highest portion of e-commerce scams, with 1,319 cases – 39.3% of all reported e-commerce scams. Some of the common scam transactions involved the sales of electronic gadgets and Covid-19-related items.
The Recent Singtel Online Scam
Just earlier this week. Scammers using fake e-mails claiming to be from Singtel stole $62,000.
The victims received e-mails claiming to be from Singtel telling them they had won a prize. Those who clicked on the URL link were directed to a fake Singtel webpage which asked for their bank information and one-time passwords in order to claim their winnings.
Earlier this week, 22 police reports were logged when the victims realised that they had been scammed after noticing unauthorised transactions in their bank accounts.
The Singapore Police Force is recommending Singaporeans follow the tips below to safeguard against such scams:
- Be wary of URL links provided in unsolicited adverts and text messages, especially those related to deals that seem too good to be true
- Always verify the authenticity of the information with the official website or sources
- Never disclose your personal or Internet banking details and OTP to anyone
- Report any fraudulent transaction involving your e-payment accounts to the e-payment service provider immediately
Most of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in New Zealand have realised the reality of conducting their businesses in the digital space. Systems encrypted with ransomware, data breaches, business disruptions, frauds and other forms of cyber-attacks can be fatal to an online business especially to an SME.
Companies have seen small businesses brought to the edge of extinction due to a range of cyber-attacks. COVID-19 has made this worse as remote access solutions (such as Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are often not effectively deployed leaving vulnerabilities that are easy to find by even low-skilled cybercriminals. The costs of having a professional cybersecurity programme are often out of the question for most SMEs.
In light of this, a New Zealand-based start-up is trying to push down the cost of cyber-security and make a business for itself by encouraging other small businesses to take control of their systems. The developer has a homegrown, software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering that looks to disrupt the traditional consultant-dominated industry model. Currently, six businesses have completed a beta program with the tech company.
The tech start-up wants to give small tech businesses the ability to self-assess and confidently operate their cybersecurity programmes. Cybersecurity practice has been confusing, inaccessible and left to the domain of industry consultants, says the founder and CEO.
The developer is looking to “democratise” cybersecurity practices in the country. According to him, cybersecurity help has been traditionally out of reach for many businesses due to cost, and while the quality of service available is of a very high calibre, many businesses are starting with the basics and looking to improve from there.
He also said that they are born out of the real need to make it easier and more affordable for technology companies to improve and begin to operate their security programmes with confidence.
The company plans to give SMEs an understanding of where the gaps are, a custom roadmap of what to do next and a world-class product experience to run and operate their security programme over the long term. They believe that they are filling an important gap in the market for an offering that comes in between the thoughts “wish we were doing better” and “prohibitively expensive professional services”. There is certainly a time and place for professional help, but most do not need it in the beginning.
Accordingly, leading innovators in the country said that with the emerging situation as an unprecedented crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly changed the way people work, live, consume, and travel. To adapt to these transitions, SMEs are actively seeking ways to reinvent themselves as per next-normal operating models. Businesses can no longer count on pre-coronavirus data and analysis that have substantially changed across different industries.
The coronavirus crisis has made it compelling for SMEs to endorse digital transformation to evolve and survive in the post-COVID world. This unexpected change has opened a slew of opportunities for SMEs to become future-ready and set the stage for a digital revolution.
Looking beyond the pandemic, the sector is already gearing up for this revolution. Cyber resilience and innovative customer service programmes will be critical. SMEs can boost its growth prospects by continuing to innovate for the sake of sustainability. Besides, no business ever grows without having to evolve into something more. In addition to these practices, SMEs can also explore venturing into new verticals that are gaining prominence in the new normal environment.
The Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) will launch the SG Cyber Safe Programme to help Singapore enterprises to raise their cybersecurity posture.
The programme is part of the Safer Cyberspace Masterplan launched in October 2020, which aims to raise Singapore’s general level of cybersecurity.
In a speech by Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information at the MCI Committee of Supply Debate 2021, he said “Cybersecurity, therefore has to be a collective effort and a core part of our lives in this digital age-integrated into the products we use and the way that we behave online.”
“As more enterprises go digital, our exposure to cyber threats grows in parallel. Cyber attacks on companies have a far-reaching impact on our wider economy. So, as part of the Safer Cyberspace Masterplan, CSA will launch the SG Cyber Safe Programme to support companies in strengthening their cybersecurity.”
The SG Cyber Safe Programme is a concerted effort by the Government to help enterprises better protect themselves in the digital domain. Under this programme, initiatives to be introduced include:
The toolkits, targeted at key enterprise stakeholders such as enterprise leaders, technical teams and employees, will provide leaders with a deeper understanding of cybersecurity issues and threats. It will also enable them to implement cybersecurity measures, including employee training, within the organisation.
CSA will be rolling out the employee cybersecurity toolkit by the end of 2021. For a start, CSA has worked with Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) and Civil Service College (CSC) to adapt existing cybersecurity modules – originally developed for public officers – for employees in the private sector.
Tools for enterprises to self-assess their cybersecurity posture.
This includes the Exercise-in-a-Box Singapore incident response simulation tool, which will be launched in partnership with the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre in the later half of 2021. CSA will also develop assessment tools on enterprises’ Internet domain, connectivity and email health.
SG Cyber Safe Trustmark.
The Trustmark will serve as a mark of distinction for enterprises that have put in place good cybersecurity measures that correspond to their risk profiles.
CSA will start industry consultations on the SG Cyber Safe Trustmark from April 2021 to seek views on the concept and implementation. CSA intends to introduce the trustmark by early-2022.
As the trustmark is intended for companies or projects with higher cyber risk, a separate cyber hygiene mark will also be developed to complement the SG Cyber Safe trustmark. More details on the trustmark and cyber hygiene mark will be announced in due course.
Building Cybersecurity Talent Base in Singapore
The Minister added that “Our cybersecurity talent base is a key enabler of these efforts and we are working closely with industry partners and Government agencies to nurture and grow our cybersecurity workforce.
He said that first of all, to meet near-term demand, the government will facilitate the training and upskilling of cybersecurity professionals, as well as fresh and mid-career non-cybersecurity professionals for cybersecurity jobs, through programmes such as IMDA’s Tech Skills Accelerator.
And secondly, to strengthen the talent pipeline for the longer term, the government encourages youths to pursue a career in the field through cyber outreach initiatives like SG Cyber Talent. There has been over 7,000 participants to-date.
The government has also launched the SG Cyber Leaders programme to create a community for current and developing cyber leaders to exchange ideas, and learn about global best practices.
The minister called on all Singaporeans to do their part to stay cyber safe. “All of us need to play our part to create a safer, more secure cyberspace. There are things we can do as individuals. We should enable two-factor authentication, update our software in a timely manner, choose a passphrase rather than a password and staying vigilant to spot signs of phishing.”
Healthcare providers can now access a new digital platform that will facilitate the upload of COVID-19 vaccination records to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).
The Clinician Vaccine Integrated Platform (CVIP) will support the Australian Government’s COVID-19 vaccination program which started in February. It provides the technology needed for vaccination providers to meet their legislative requirements to report the vaccinations to the AIR.
Agency Chief Digital Officer Steve Issa said, “CVIP is expected to be particularly useful for vaccination providers who don’t currently have digital systems in place to report to the AIR.”
NT Health was the first jurisdiction to start using CVIP in their Alice Springs vaccination clinic. The Agency is having discussions with other jurisdictions about how it might be used at clinics within other states and territories, while they are upgrading their clinical systems to meet the new AIR reporting legislative requirements.
Vaccination information reported to the AIR is uploaded automatically to My Health Record.
The latest upgrade to My Health Record delivered in late February included a consolidated immunisation view so people can easily see details of all immunisations, including their first COVID-19 vaccination, received, and next vaccination due date. Immunisation history statements are also available from Medicare Online and the Express Plus Medicare Mobile app.
There are also two complementary mobile apps, Healthi and HealthNow which can provide people with new ways to understand and use the information in their My Health Record, and ultimately, to make better-informed decisions about staying well or managing their health conditions. Both these apps allow people to easily view My Health Record and their immunisation status.
About the Australian Digital Health Agency
When it comes to improving the health of all Australians, the role of digital innovation and connection is a vital part of a modern, accessible healthcare system. Against the backdrop of COVID-19, digital health has seen exponential growth in relevance and importance, making it more pertinent than ever for all Australians and healthcare providers.
Better patient healthcare and health outcomes are possible when you have a health infrastructure that can be safely accessed, easily used and responsibly shared.
To achieve this, the National Digital Health Strategy is establishing the foundations for a sustainable health system that constantly improves. It underpins and coordinates work that is already happening between governments, healthcare providers, consumers, innovators and the technology industry.
About the National Digital Health Strategy
Digital information is the bedrock of high-quality healthcare. The benefits for patients are significant and compelling: hospital admissions avoided, fewer adverse drug events, reduced duplication of tests, better coordination of care for people with chronic and complex conditions, and better-informed treatment decisions.
To achieve this, the National Digital Health Strategy is establishing the foundations for a sustainable health system that constantly improves. It underpins and coordinates work that is already happening between governments, healthcare providers, consumers, innovators and the technology industry.
The outcomes citizens can expect to see are covered by seven high-level strategic priorities or ‘pillars’ of digital health improvements detailed in the strategy. These outcomes will be delivered to all Australians by 2022, following the Framework for Action implementation plan.
They will form part of a new sustainable ecosystem of digital health technology well into the future. The National Digital Health Strategy was formed after detailed consultations with patients, consumers, carers, healthcare professionals, industry, organisations and innovators. It’s based on evidence of clinical and economic benefits identified from sources both in Australia and overseas.
The Australian Digital Health Agency is the custodian of the strategy, its role being to evolve national digital health capability by innovating, collaborating and leading.
The Ministry of Communications and Information has made building an inclusive digital society one of their main priorities for 2021. Their aim is to ensure that ‘all Singaporeans can reap the benefits of digitalisation.’
In order to reach this goal, the National Library Board (NLB) is transforming libraries into hubs for digital learning.
The Libraries and Archives Blueprint 2025 (LAB25) looks at how NLB’s roles and priorities will evolve from 2021 to 2025, in response to social, economic and technological changes.
‘A key component of LAB25 is working with communities, individuals and industries to innovate and explore new solutions to address the needs of citizens.’
Since January 2020, NLB has carried out various types of public consultations to understand what Singaporeans would like to see in their libraries and archives.
The National Library Board has identified five areas to focus on:
Champion lifelong learning
NLB will prepare its patrons for a fast-changing world through programmes such as on career and personal development. These include the Future of Work series and the My Digital Life series, which promote public awareness of how technology affects our life.
NLB has also revamped its library makerspaces in 2020, with a rebrand from PIXEL Labs@NLB to MakeIT at Libraries, to reflect the need to shift Singapore’s DIY and innovation culture into the next gear. There are three makerspaces which comprise activities such as hands-on workshops in 3D printing and robotics, jointly organised by NLB and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).
Bridge the digital divide
NLB will continue to partner IMDA and other government agencies to help communities, especially our seniors, to be comfortable and confident when using digital services and technology. For example, Library Learning Journeys will be conducted monthly at 25 public libraries from late February 2021, with capacity of four participants for each session. Led by digital ambassadors, these sessions teach seniors how to use the NLB mobile app and other digital services in libraries, such as connecting to Wireless@SGx, accessing eNewspapers and scanning QR codes.
Document and tell Singapore stories
NLB will continue to involve the community in its efforts to build the nation’s contemporary collection and collect its history. An ongoing “Documenting COVID-19” collection drive organised by NLB and the National Museum of Singapore has so far received over 740 submissions of more than 3,600 photos, personal stories, videos, ephemera, webpages, blog, diaries and creative responses.
NLB has also recorded 61 in-depth audio interviews as part of the oral history component of Documenting COVID-19. NLB aims to record at least 120 interviews from now until 2022. The public will be able to access them on the Archives Online website.
Strengthen citizen engagement
The NLB will continue to step up efforts to ensure that libraries are safe and inclusive spaces for the community to interact with one another. Communities are encouraged to pursue their passion in learning through setting up their own interest groups and reading clubs at the various libraries, where they can interact with like-minded people from all walks of life.
Promote information literacy
NLB has been actively promoting information literacy through the Source. Understand. Research. Evaluate. (S.U.R.E.) campaign, which promotes the importance of information evaluation and discernment. Over 25,000 participants have benefited from S.U.R.E. programmes in the last three years, with increased interest during COVID 19.
In the coming years, NLB will step up its efforts on S.U.R.E. and will weave the campaign into programmes across interest areas, such as combining a love of reading with being wise consumers of information at NLB’s Read Fest 2021.
Revamping libraries – part of Libraries of the Future Masterplan
In line with the Libraries of the Future Masterplan, NLB will continue to develop public libraries with seamless access, both physically and digitally. Since 2015, six revamped public libraries have been launched. The revamped Choa Chu Kang Public Library will reopen in the second half of 2021.
Choa Chu Kang Public Library will be the first Libraries of the Future library to be redesigned with sustainability as its main theme, and will feature digital services which aim to encourage the appreciation of natural landscapes and biodiversity.
Malaysia’s tech hub developer, Cyberview Sdn Bhd, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Talent Corporation Malaysia Bhd (TalentCorp) to leverage on each other’s strengths, networks, and capabilities with a goal of “cultivating a strong talent ecosystem in Cyberjaya.”
This strategic collaboration between both parties will include talent development and talent enhancement initiatives, to improve graduate marketability through greater academia and industry collaboration, the companies jointly said in a statement.
The objective is to prepare graduates to meet industry needs, as well as to minimise private investments in talent reskilling and upskilling.
The Managing Director of Cyberview stated, “We have come to a point where technology and digitisation are ubiquitous throughout every facet of our life. The pandemic is further catalysing digital transformation where businesses have had to speed up by 5.3 years, according to a global survey.”
However, market experts have pointed out that the ability to adapt to a digital future will depend on the talent, not just the technology. As firm believers in embracing a collaborative multi-stakeholder approach, we are confident that this MoU with TalentCorp will help us shape a strong talent ecosystem in Cyberjaya,” he added.
The collaboration is also in line with TalentCorp’s role as the agency under the Ministry of Human Resources (MOHR) mandated to attract, nurture, and retain the talent and expertise required for Malaysia’s economic growth, Cyberview said.
In his speech at the virtual signing ceremony, TalentCorp’s Group Chief Executive Officer said TalentCorp leverages its strategic partnerships with industry, government, and academia to support the national agenda of Malaysia’s transformation into a talent hub.
He added that TalentCorp was prepared to support the partnership with Cyberview through several mechanisms, including industry bridging, research-based insights, and the Critical Occupations List (COL).
As a start to the collaboration, both companies will work together on a structured internship programme that provides a tax incentive to employers by entitling them to double deductions.
The process of bringing in expatriates to set up base in Cyberjaya will also be streamlined with the roles of Cyberview’s Cyberjaya Investment and Services Centre (CISC) and TalentCorp’s Malaysia Expatriate Services Centre (MYXpats Centre) converging.
It was also noted that Cyberview champions Cyberjaya as a vibrant global tech hub and the centre of Malaysia’s technology innovations. Towards this end, the agency looks forward to working closely with TalentCorp to strengthen Cyberjaya’s talent ecosystem, transforming the smart city (Cyberjaya) and its communities into an innovation-based hub, Cyberview’s MD stated.
This goal is in line with the government’s commitment to drive the Industrial Revolution 4.0 agenda and spur economic growth.
A recent article notes that as digital technologies have notably begun to play an even more critical role in the economy, it is increasingly clear that there is a real need to prepare talents – newly graduated or now in the workforce – for digital jobs. More companies are becoming digital by default, with 91% of organisations having to adopt or have plans to become a ‘digital-first’ business strategy.
An average of $15.3 million over the next 12 months will be spent on digital initiatives, according to the IDG Digital Business Survey 2019. The Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) had revealed that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) now comprise 48.4% of Malaysia’s employment and another similar report from Huawei revealed how 48% of SMEs recognise the lack of digital skills.
In Malaysia, eight of the top ten emerging jobs will require digital tech skills. This includes jobs in Data Analysts and Scientists; Internet of Things (IoT) Specialists; Digital Transformation Specialists; and Cybersecurity Specialists, the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s “The Future of Jobs Report 2020” Report states. The same study also forecasted that 50 per cent of all employees will need re-skilling by 2025.
In Singapore, service-providing apps are prominent and contribute to a large amount of the country’s market share. That amount will continue to grow as a multi-million-dollar app will soon be launched in the country to help users find their way around, call a taxi, make reservations at restaurants and even book staycations, all on one free platform.
The new tech venture by a transport giant is a one-stop app that melds transport, food, and leisure services, as the company goes head-to-head with competition such as ride-hailing firms. While the developer’s core business remains transportation services, the app is part of the company’s pivot to offering more online services, drawing from its S$100 million venture capital fund to aid in its digitalisation efforts.
The company’s managing director and group chief executive officer said the project is the first time the land transport company is rolling out such an all-in-one lifestyle and mobility app. In a digital world, mobility is no longer just about simply transporting people from point A to B. It is about bringing services to people wherever they are, whenever they need, he added.
The app provides an interactive map-based interface that shows both nearby attractions and functions as a navigation tool, giving locals – and tourists – an avenue to discover little-known parts of Singapore. By partnering with restaurant-booking platforms, it also allows users to pre-order food and drinks from their pick of more than 1,500 restaurants and cafes for quick collection. The company also partnered with an international travel agency, adding hotel booking options and entertainment deals to the platform, including more offbeat and recreational experiences.
With the demand for taxi rides still below pre-Covid-19 levels, the app aims to give the company’s cabbies a boost by drawing a wider lifestyle user base and offering them an in-app taxi booking function. This is in addition to the existing booking app of the company, which will continue to operate.
Moreover, the company said that as more users are onboarded, more innovative services will be rolled out. While there are no plans yet to offer food delivery, a very possible prospect is the inclusion of hawker stalls, cinemas, and supermarkets on the app.
Also, local marketing executives say the app could bring about greater visibility for restaurants. They think the app will bring about great brand awareness and it is good that the platform targets public transport commuters, taxi riders and has geolocation features, which has become a norm for most app-based service providers.
Meanwhile, educators from the National University of Singapore Business School said that the app is a “natural evolution” for the company, which already has a ready pool of drivers. For him, the super app market is not oversaturated. The country is just scratching at the surface and there is still room for improvement. Every company will come onto the field with a different synergy, a different set of a starting point and different value propositions.
In contrast, educators at the Singapore Polytechnic School of Business, believe it will be hard for the company to differentiate its offerings from other platforms, as Singapore’s market is too small, and to affect a platform shift, they will have to pump in as many dollars as possible to gain market share. They further added that the platform that can integrate all its services on one platform most seamlessly will emerge on top. It is about offering a particular lifestyle, and it must all be interconnected.
Accordingly, as reported by OpenGov Asia, the country’s Department of Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat allocated over S$24 billion over the next three years to help mature enterprises ranging from micro to large firms, to invest in new and emerging technologies to sharpen their competitiveness. The government is looking to catalyse a wide range of capital to co-fund and enable businesses to innovate, transform and scale.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) jointly issued a paper on managing new risks that could emerge from extensive remote working arrangements adopted by financial institutions (FIs) amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The paper “Risk Management and Operational Resilience in a Remote Working Environment” highlights that, in view of the protracted remote working arrangements and the likely adoption of hybrid working arrangements in the future, it is important that FIs remain vigilant towards remote working risks and take pre-emptive steps to mitigate them.
The aim of the paper is to:
• raise awareness of key remote working risks in the financial sector;
• share good practices adopted by FIs to mitigate key remote working risks; and
• encourage all FIs to adopt good practices on managing remote working risks.
The Paper looks at possible risks to FIs in the areas of operations, technology and information security, fraud and staff misconduct, and legal and regulatory risks. It also examines the impact on people and culture that may be brought about by remote working.
Mr Ong Chong Tee, Deputy Managing Director (Financial Supervision), MAS, said, “Financial institutions in Singapore have swiftly adapted to remote working and split-team arrangements in response to COVID-19. The operational resilience of our financial institutions during this period reflects the soundness of their business continuity management plans. It also underscores the importance of regular tests through internal drills and industry-wide exercises jointly organised by the MAS and the financial industry.
“Investments in the digitalisation of work processes and services over the past five years have also enabled our financial institutions to continue to provide a high level of support to meet the needs of individuals and businesses, during the pandemic. MAS will continue to work closely with ABS and other industry associations to enhance operational resilience and maintain high service standards.”
Drawing from the experiences of ABS member banks, the Paper suggests key risk management actions needed to address these areas of concern. The risks and risk mitigation measures set out in the Paper are also applicable to non-bank FIs.
MAS encourages FIs to benchmark their remote working controls against the examples in the Paper. FIs should also continually review and enhance their risk management practices to address evolving risks. This Paper is part of the ongoing collaboration between
MAS and ABS’ Return to Onsite Operations Taskforce (ROOT), to coordinate responses to the crisis and prepare for a post-COVID-19 new normal.
Mr Samuel Tsien, Chairman of ABS, said, “Over the years, banks have invested consistently and significantly in risk management and technology. The investments have enabled the industry to quickly and effectively respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and ensure that banking services are not disrupted during the crisis. Where their roles permitted, banks have made arrangements to facilitate their employees to work from home in a safe and secured environment and allowed the continued provision of services that our customers needed. This outcome is not only due to individual banks’ efforts. It was also a collective one.”
“ABS and ROOT, working together with MAS, coordinated the financial sector’s response to the crisis. The good practices are now captured in this Paper. It will serve as a valuable reference guide to all banks as remote and flexible work arrangements continue to be adopted as the pandemic evolves. The Paper is also a good guide to banks when dealing with other types of crises”.