SINGAPORE — Some 108,000 civil servants, the vast majority of such employees, will be allowed to access the Internet from their work laptops from 2 November.
The change is due to remote browsing technology, which loads web content in an isolated container and only displays safe content to the user, said the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) in a media release.
Restrictions can be pre-configured to further mitigate risks of malware infection and data exfiltration.
SNDGG said the move is part of continuous efforts to advance digital transformation in the public sector.
It will also “help to improve user experience and work productivity for public officers, while continuing to promote a safe and secure digital workplace in the Public Service”.
Over the past three years, civil servants have had to use a separate computer to access the Internet in order to protect government data.
After the high-profile SingHealth security breach two years ago, public healthcare institutions too adopted Internet surfing separation.
There are about 146,000 employees in the civil service.
“Different combinations of technologies can now be implemented together to provide multiple layers of security control, and for us to have in place a more advanced and secure system to safeguard government data,” SNDGG said of advancements in remote browsing.
However, to prevent data from being compromised, files can only be uploaded onto approved sites.
Web-based video conferencing will also not be supported – the remote browsing technology does not interact with other hardware components on the work computer such as the microphone and camera – and those who handle classified documents will continue to access the Internet via a separate computer.
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