Friday 20 February 2015

SingPass beefed up with OneKey

New token will secure e-government transactions done by citizens and PRs
By Irene Tham, Technology Correspondent, The Straits Times, 18 Feb 2015

ALL Singapore citizens and permanent residents (PRs) can soon register for the OneKey calculator-like token to secure their e-government transactions.

A government bulk tender has been awarded to OneKey's issuer, Assurity Trusted Solutions, as part of a systems upgrade following the discovery of 1,560 breached SingPass accounts last June.

SingPass is a password that secures Singapore residents' access to 340 e-government services, including those for filing income tax returns and checking Central Provident Fund account balances.

Three of the breached SingPass accounts were fraudulently used to make applications for work passes.

But from as early as July this year, SingPass users will have the option of entering a one-time password (OTP) to secure their e-government transactions, especially those involving sensitive data.

The OTP can be generated on OneKey, and must be entered in addition to the usual SingPass and username, which is the NRIC number. The entering of the OTP provides an added layer of security in what is known as two-factor authentication.

Users can also opt to receive the OTP via SMS "depending on the sensitivity of the e-service", a spokesman for the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) told The Straits Times.

"The Singapore Government takes the security of citizens' online transactions with government agencies very seriously," she added. IDA, which called for the tender, said it will provide more details at a later date.

Housewife Sakura Siow, 40, welcomed the enhanced security measure, and said she would use OneKey over SMS. "Network problems can lead to delayed SMSes until the transaction is timed out. It happened twice to me," she said.

Businessman Harry Chew, 44, said he prefers the SMS option as he is already using the DBS token for e-banking. "It is already a hassle to carry one token, what more another one for e-government transactions," he said.

To date, about 600,000 OneKey tokens have been issued to online investors and members of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), the national umbrella body for trade unions.

They use OneKey to access their online trading accounts with major brokerages like Lim & Tan Securities and Phillip Securities, and book a chalet on the NTUC website, respectively.

Existing users of OneKey, whose issuer is a subsidiary of IDA, can use the same token for accessing e-government services as part of the enhanced SingPass.

Full-time investor Stephen Chen, 37, gave the thumbs up to the selection of OneKey for e-government transactions as he is already using OneKey for online trading.

"The selection of the most commonly used token by online trading brokerages is much appreciated... I don't have to deal with yet another device," he said.

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