We live in a modern age of technology. Today, almost all of us own some form of smart mobile device, be it a smartphone, a tablet, or even both. Regardless of what mobile platform is being used, we all install apps. Everything from games to productivity to tools and utilities. If you think of something you want right now, chances are, ‘there’s an app for that’. Companies and mobile developers are leveraging these ‘wants’ to create and provide apps and services that make our lives much easier(and more fun).
While we enjoy all these apps and all the conveniences they bring, they all have one thing in common, and that is they all collect our data. From a simple social media account to our credit card info, we willingly give these apps permission to collect our data thinking they are to be kept private and safe but just how safe are they? Well, Singapore is in the process of introducing a new legislation that specifically address exactly that, Mobile Security.
It is all headed by Vivian Balakrishnan, minister-in-charge of Singapore’s Smart Nation program. He said in an interview that the Cybersecurity Act was being prepared by the Communications and Information Ministry and was expected to be introduced to parliament next year. This new legislation would ensure that all the data being collected by companies are safe from being hacked. “The more digital technologies become embedded into the fabric of real life, you’ve got to take the necessary precautions,” he said. “
Prateek Panda, co-founder of local mobile security startup Appknox, said that because most companies involved in developing Smart Nation technology needed access to sensitive government data and networks, the door was open to multiple security risks. “A lot of data like social security numbers, credit card numbers et cetera are being traded openly in the dark web markets for as low as $10 per record,” said Panda in an email. “Imagine a whole nation’s data available like this for the entire world to exploit?”
Balakrishnan said companies that increasingly use anonymized data gathered from millions of mobile phone-carrying commuters crisscrossing Singapore each day, must protect users’ information. “If a company has not bothered or has willfully left back doors open, they will have to be held accountable for that,” he said.
“We are beefing up security because we are such an open and connected government and government services, so we have to take the security of our systems seriously,” Balakrishnan said. “In Singapore, the online sphere is essential for citizens. So much of our lives, our engagements, our interactions and our transactions are online.”
This feature originally appeared in Bloomberg.